What Is an X Ray Dosimeter?


What Is an X Ray Dosimeter?

Understand what an x ray dosimeter is, why they're important in radiation monitoring, and how to choose the right dosimetry device.

An X ray dosimeter is a device used to measure and monitor the amount of radiation exposure someone may receive, typically in an occupational setting. There are different types of X-ray dosimeters available, each with its own features and capabilities.

Understanding the basics of how an x ray dosimeter functions, why x ray dosimeters are necessary, the differences between each type of dosimeter, and some best practices for radiation safety can go a long way in keeping people healthy, safe, and compliant. Keep reading to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • X ray dosimeters, also known as radiation badges, are required in various professional settings like veterinary clinics, dental offices, and hospitals. Dosimetry badges measure radiation from various types of x-ray equipment, like C-arms, fluoro units, and therapy units.
  • Other settings, like nuclear power plants and construction sites, also require radiation monitoring, due to potential exposure to radioactive materials.
  • Dosimetry providers, like Radiation Detection Company, ship badges to individuals to monitor radiation doses over a set period of time, providing exposure reports to keep professionals safe and compliant with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and state regulations.

What Is the Purpose of an X Ray Dosimeter?

The purpose of an X-ray dosimeter is to measure and monitor the radiation exposure levels experienced by individuals working in environments where radiation is present. These dosimeters play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of personnel by accurately quantifying the amount of radiation they are exposed to over a period of time.

Dosimeters capture radiation that provides valuable data to help individuals and companies in the form of exposure reports. These exposure reports offer more insight into occupational radiation for dentists, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, doctors, nuclear energy technicians, surgeons, and anyone else with occupational exposure to gamma or high energy beta radiation.

X ray dosimeters help employees and companies adhere to regulatory limits for radiation exposure and take necessary precautions to minimize risks to their health. While radiation monitoring requirements may differ from state to state, federal standards from the NRC limit whole-body occupational total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) to 5,000 mrem per year.1

Radiation dose reports quantify the data measured by x ray dosimeters, allowing individuals in occupational settings to implement necessary adjustments to radiation protection protocols, take action to address faulty machinery, and minimize the risk of health impacts related to radiation.

Overall, X-ray dosimeters serve as essential tools in safeguarding the well-being of workers and maintaining a safe working environment in facilities where X-ray radiation is utilized. Understanding the differences between each X-ray dosimeter is important to ensure accurate measurement and monitoring of radiation exposure.

Types of X Ray Dosimeter Badges

There are several types of X-ray dosimeters available, each designed to measure and monitor radiation exposure in different ways.

Each type of dosimeter has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which one to use depends on the type of machinery used by professionals. Below, we've included some of the most common types of x ray dosimeters.

Film Badges

One type of dosimeter is the film badge, which consists of a small piece of X-ray film enclosed in a protective holder. When exposed to X-rays, the film undergoes a chemical change that can be measured and analyzed to determine the amount of radiation exposure.

Film dosimeters use X-ray film to detect and measure radiation exposure. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, but they have limitations in terms of accuracy and sensitivity.

Thermoluminescent Dosimeters (TLDs)

A thermoluminescent dosimeter is used to measure ionizing radiation, including gamma rays, x-rays, and beta radiation exposures. Thermoluminescent dosimeters use special crystals that can store energy when exposed to radiation. When stimulated later, the crystals can release this energy in the form of light, which can be measured to determine the amount of radiation exposure. TLDs are more accurate and sensitive than film badge dosimeters.

Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dosimeters (OSL or OSLDs)

Optically stimulated luminescence dosimeters also use crystals to store energy when exposed to radiation. Both TLDs and OSLs capture point dose measurements, or radiation doses in a relatively small volume. However, instead of heating the dosimeter to release the energy, OSLs use light stimulation. OSLs are considered to be the most sensitive type of dosimeter, with a lower level of detection.

Less Common Types of Dosimeters

Other types of X-ray dosimeters include pocket ionization chambers, which use a small air-filled chamber to measure radiation exposure, and electronic personal dosimeters, which use electronic components to detect and measure radiation exposure.

The choice of which type of X-ray dosimeter to use depends on the type of machinery used in an occupational setting, the level of accuracy required, and the wearer's unique needs. For example, a pregnant veterinary technician will likely need to wear a fetal monitor in addition to a whole-body dosimeter or a ring badge. It is important to select the appropriate dosimeter for each situation to ensure accurate measurement and monitoring of radiation exposure.

Learn more about the different types of dosimeters in this blog post: Dosimeters and their Differences: Active, Passive, and Digital Dosimeters

Why X-Ray Dosimeters and Radiation Safety Matter

X-ray dosimeters and radiation safety are of utmost importance in various industries and professions where workers are exposed to radiation.

Excessive exposure to radiation can have harmful effects on the body, including an increased risk of cancer and other health problems. X-ray dosimeters play a crucial role in monitoring and controlling radiation exposure to ensure the safety of workers.

By wearing X-ray dosimeters, workers can track their radiation exposure levels and take appropriate measures to minimize their exposure. This may include wearing protective clothing, using shielding materials, or adjusting work practices to reduce the risk of overexposure.

In addition to protecting individual workers, X-ray dosimeters also help organizations comply with regulatory requirements related to radiation safety. Many industries, such as healthcare, nuclear power, and manufacturing, have strict guidelines and regulations in place to ensure the safety of workers and the public.

By using X-ray dosimeters and implementing proper radiation safety measures, organizations can create a safe working environment and minimize the risk of radiation-related incidents or health issues.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an X Ray Dosimeter

When selecting an X-ray dosimeter, there are several factors to consider to ensure it meets the specific requirements of the application and provides accurate measurements.

One important factor is the type of radiation that the dosimeter will be exposed to. Different dosimeters are designed to measure specific types of radiation, such as X-rays, gamma rays, or beta particles. It is essential to choose a dosimeter that is suitable for the specific radiation type that will be encountered.

Accuracy and sensitivity are also crucial factors to consider. The dosimeter should be able to provide reliable and precise measurements of radiation exposure. Calibration and regular maintenance of the dosimeter are essential to ensure its accuracy over time.

Other factors to consider include the size and comfort of the dosimeter, ease of use, durability, and cost. It is important to select a dosimeter that meets the specific needs and requirements of the application while also considering budget constraints.

Working with a company that prioritizes quality customer service can go a long way in keeping companies compliant and individuals safe. At Radiation Detection Company, we believe safety should be simple. That’s why we’ve provided dedicated, in-house customer service since 1949 – every time you call, you’ll speak to a real person from RDC.

Not sure what dosimeter to choose? RDC can help. We'll walk you through each step to help you find the right badge service. Get started here.

Best Practices for Radiation Safety

Ensuring radiation safety is essential when working with X-rays or other sources of radiation. Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as lead aprons, gloves, and goggles, when working with radiation sources.
  • Follow proper shielding techniques to minimize radiation exposure. This may include using lead shielding materials or working in shielded enclosures.
  • Implement proper handling and storage procedures for radioactive materials to prevent accidents or contamination.
  • Follow established safety protocols and procedures, including proper waste disposal methods.
  • Regularly monitor radiation levels using X-ray dosimeters and other monitoring devices.
  • Provide appropriate training and education to workers on radiation safety practices and procedures.
  • Conduct regular inspections and maintenance of radiation equipment to ensure proper functioning.

By following these best practices and taking some time to learn the basics of x ray dosimeters, individuals and organizations can minimize the risks associated with radiation exposure and create a safe working environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do X-ray dosimeters work?

X-ray dosimeters measure radiation exposure by detecting ionization caused by X-rays in a material, converting it into an electrical signal. From there, a radiation detection company will tabulate the results in a radiation report that includes detailed information about exposure levels, ensuring safety in environments where X-ray equipment is used.

Why would the dosimeter be used?

Dosimeters are used to monitor and measure an individual's exposure to radiation, ensuring that they do not exceed safe levels of exposure and helping to prevent potential health risks associated with overexposure to radiation.

What is the difference between a radiation detector and a dosimeter?

A radiation detector detects ionizing radiation levels. Dosimeters are a type of radiation detector; they specifically measure and record absorbed dose for an individual working in an environment where radiation is present.

What is radiation dosimetry used for?

Radiation dosimetry measures and monitors the amount of radiation absorbed by individuals or objects. Radiation dosimetry helps ensure radiation safety in various fields (such as medicine, industry, research, and nuclear energy) by preventing overexposure and assessing potential health risks.


  1. “Information for Radiation Workers.” United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 14 Dec. 2021,

Dosimeter badge services for medical, dental, and veterinary businesses

Learn how Radiation Detection Company’s easy-to-use dosimetry solutions can boost the efficiency of your practice.

Radiation Safety Guide