Description: The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has patented an all-optical, fiber-optic-coupled remote radiation sensor using NRL’s luminescent, copper-doped quartz material. The key to the technology is the doped quartz material that produces a luminescence signal that is directly proportional to the radiation dose. Individual sensors have an estimated cost of $50 and a lifespan of decades. The sensor is less than 7 mm in diameter by 10 cm in length and is fiber-optic-coupled to a photodetector that is remotely located away from the potential radiation source. The small, flexible sensor can detect low levels of radiation in underground pipes or boreholes. The sensor's ability to withstand exposure to moisture, high temperatures, and corrosive conditions allow for extended operation in multiple mediums. Durability is important for monitoring low levels of radiation accumulated by the sensor over a time span of interest. The sensor can also provide in situ, near-real-time data. The sensor is sensitive to all types of radiation, including tritium and alpha particles. The fiber-optic coupled radiation sensors can be configured with hundreds of sensors connected to one readout unit. The fiber-optic radiation monitor can identify dangers to the environment, property, and critical plant coolant systems.

Advantages/Features Include:

  • Detects the presence and the amount of radiation
  • High sensitivity over a wide range of radiation levels, better than 10 millirems
  • Easily manufactured in large quantities
  • In situ measurements reduces manpower requirements
  • No off-site data processing required
  • Economical enough to be disposable
  • Durable enough to be reused
  • Environmentally and biologically friendly

Applications Include:

  • Energy sites and surrounding areas
  • Radioactive material storage sites
  • Ground water or soil monitoring


  • "Fiberoptic-Coupled, Laser-Heated Thermoluminescence Dosimeter for Remote Radiation Sensing," Appl. Phys. Lett. 68 (1996) 3377-3379.

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