What is LiF crystal – Lithium Fluoride TLD – Definition

Lithium fluoride TLD is used for gamma and neutron exposure (indirectly, using the Li-6 (n,alpha)) nuclear reaction. Small crystals of LiF (lithium fluoride) are the most common TLD dosimeters since they have the same absorption properties as soft tissue. Personal Dosimeter

A thermoluminescent dosimeter, abbreviated as TLD,  is a passive radiation dosimeter, that measures ionizing radiation exposure by measuring the intensity of visible light emitted from a sensitive crystal in the detector when the crystal is heated. The intensity of light emitted is measure by TLD reader and it is dependent upon the radiation exposure. Thermoluminescent dosimeters was invented in 1954 by Professor Farrington Daniels of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. TLD dosimeters are applicable to situations where real-time information is not needed, but precise accumulated dose monitoring records are desired for comparison to field measurements or for assessing the potential for long term health effects. In dosimetry, both the quartz fiber and film badge types are being superseded by TLDs and EPDs (Electronic Personal Dosimeter).

LiF crystal – Lithium Fluoride TLD

The two most common types of thermoluminescent materials used for dosimetry are calcium fluoride and lithium fluoride, with one or more impurities (e.g. manganese or magnesium) to produce trap states for energetic electrons. The impurity causes traps in the crystalline lattice where, following irradiation, electrons are held. When the crystal is warmed, the trapped electrons are released and light is emitted. The amount of light is related to the dose of radiation received by the crystal.

Calcium fluoride TLD is used to record gamma exposure, while lithium fluoride TLD is used for gamma and neutron exposure (indirectly, using the Li-6 (n,alpha)) nuclear reaction. Small crystals of LiF (lithium fluoride) are the most common TLD dosimeters since they have the same absorption properties as soft tissue. Lithium has two stable isotopes, lithium-6 (7.4 %) and lithium-7 (92.6 %). Li-6 is the isotope sensitive to neutrons. In order to record neutrons, LiF crystal dosimeters may be enriched in lithium-6 to enhance the lithium-6 (n,alpha) nuclear reaction.

Neutron Thermoluminescent Dosimeter – Neutron TLD

The personnel neutron dosimetry continues to be one of the problems in the field of radiation protection, as no single method provides the combination of energy response, sensitivity, orientation dependence characteristics and accuracy necessary to meet the needs of a personnel dosimeter.

The most commonly used personnel neutron dosimeters for radiation protection purposes are thermoluminescent dosimeters and albedo dosimeters. Both are based on this phenomenon – thermoluminescence. For this purpose, lithium fluoride (LiF) as sensitive material (chip) is widely used. Lithium fluoride TLD is used for gamma and neutron exposure (indirectly, using the Li-6 (n,alpha)) nuclear reaction. Small crystals of LiF (lithium fluoride) are the most common TLD dosimeters since they have the same absorption properties as soft tissue. Lithium has two stable isotopes, lithium-6 (7.4 %) and lithium-7 (92.6 %). Li-6 is the isotope sensitive to neutrons. In order to record neutrons, LiF crystal dosimeters may be enriched in lithium-6 to enhance the lithium-6 (n,alpha) nuclear reaction. The efficiency of the detector depends on the energy of the neutrons. Because the interaction of neutrons with any element is highly dependent on energy, making a dosimeter independent of the energy of neutrons is very difficult. In order to separate thermal neutrons and photons, LiF dosimeters are mostly utilized, containing different percentage of lithium-6. LiF chip enriched in lithium-6, which is very sensitive to thermal neutrons and LiF chip containing very little of lithium-6, which has a negligible neutron response.

The principle of neutron TLDs is then similar as for gamma radiation TLDs. In the LiF chip, there are impurities (e.g. manganese or magnesium), which produce trap states for energetic electrons. The impurity causes traps in the crystalline lattice where, following irradiation (to alpha radiation), electrons are held. When the crystal is warmed, the trapped electrons are released and light is emitted. The amount of light is related to the dose of radiation received by the crystal.

References:

Radiation Protection:

  1. Knoll, Glenn F., Radiation Detection and Measurement 4th Edition, Wiley, 8/2010. ISBN-13: 978-0470131480.
  2. Stabin, Michael G., Radiation Protection and Dosimetry: An Introduction to Health Physics, Springer, 10/2010. ISBN-13: 978-1441923912.
  3. Martin, James E., Physics for Radiation Protection 3rd Edition, Wiley-VCH, 4/2013. ISBN-13: 978-3527411764.
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  5. U.S. Department of Energy, Instrumantation and Control. DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Volume 2 of 2. June 1992.

Nuclear and Reactor Physics:

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  4. Glasstone, Sesonske. Nuclear Reactor Engineering: Reactor Systems Engineering, Springer; 4th edition, 1994, ISBN: 978-0412985317
  5. W.S.C. Williams. Nuclear and Particle Physics. Clarendon Press; 1 edition, 1991, ISBN: 978-0198520467
  6. G.R.Keepin. Physics of Nuclear Kinetics. Addison-Wesley Pub. Co; 1st edition, 1965
  7. Robert Reed Burn, Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Operation, 1988.
  8. U.S. Department of Energy, Nuclear Physics and Reactor Theory. DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Volume 1 and 2. January 1993.
  9. Paul Reuss, Neutron Physics. EDP Sciences, 2008. ISBN: 978-2759800414.

See also:

TLD

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