Module code: PHYM015

Module Overview

These lectures describe in detail the principles of radiation detection, measurement and dosimetry.

Module provider


Module Leader

CATFORD Wilton (Physics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 36

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content






Prof W N Catford

Principles of radiation counting and review of nuclear electronics for selection, recording and analysis of detector outputs.

Action of gas filled ionisation chamber and proportional counters, gas multiplication; ion mobility, recombination, pulsed and direct current modes of operation; Geiger-Muller counter, internal and external quenching, practical devices.

Scintillation counting with gases, liquids and solids; theory of operation, selection for various applications.

Solid state detectors; semiconductor counters, surface barrier detectors, Si(Li), Ge(Li) and hyper-pure Ge.


Prof PM  Walker

Thermoluminescent dosimetry, radio-photoluminescence.

Relation between detection and dosimetry; concept of exposure, the Roentgen, air-kerma, exposure measurements with free air chamber.

Absorbed dose, dose equivalent, Gray, Sievert, quality factor, radiation and tissue weighting factors, build-up factors, charged particle equilibrium, Bragg-Gray cavity principle, cavity chambers.

Primary and secondary dosemeters, calorimetry, chemical dosimetry, gas dosimetry, W-values, stopping power ratio, matching to medium, air and tissue equivalence, interface effects.


Prof. B. Murdin
Basic statistical analysis, error analysis, errors on the mean, weighted means, binomial, normal and Poisson distributions, least squares fitting.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their formal understanding of the concepts behind particle and radiation detection and its effect on the body.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: formal examination of radiation detection and measurement as given in lectures, and also of the statistical methods for interpreting related experimental data.


The examination at the end of semester will be of 1.5 hours duration and will comprise two questions on each of radiation detection and radiation dosimetry and one question on statistical analysis. Students will be required to choose three questions to answer.

In addition there is an assignment set in week 5 of semester for return at the start of week 6, covering specific issues in radiation detection and designed to expand the students’ experience by guiding them to study detailed issues of importance that cannot be described in detail in lectures.


Formative assessment and feedback


Students receive feedback online concerning their answers to the summative assessment and providing guiding comments on issues that appear to have been poorly understood by members of the class.


Module aims

  • This course will give the student a detailed understanding of the physical/chemical principles underlying the operation of a wide range of techniques for detection/dosimetry of ionising radiation enabling him/her to make appropriate choices of instrumentation in practical situations.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Comprehensive understanding of the role of fundamental processes involved with the interaction of X- and gamma-ray photons, charged particles and neutrons with matter KCP
002 Planning and implementation of the critical aspects of radiation detection and shielding KCPT
003 Critical analysis of dose calculations and assessments from specific radiation sources KCPT
004 Detailed knowledge of the principles of operation of solid state semi-conductor detectors, scintillation counters, gas ionization detectors KCP
005 Confidence in handling radiation monitors/detectors and dosemeters KCPT
006 Critical awareness of the selection and application of radiation detectors for different types of radiation measurement and in what environments KCPT
007 Select appropriate means of measurement for the various radiation emissions in terms of both dosimetry and spectroscopy KCPT
008 Carry through a detailed investigation of radiation sources and their interactions KCP
009 Critical analysis and ability to summarise original dosimetry data KCPT
010 Comprehensive understanding of the methods required to calculate dose and radiation effects KCP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Formal lectures and occasional large group tutorial/question sessions. Teaching given by handouts, OHP and white board presentations and notes.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PHYM015

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Physics MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Medical Physics MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Radiation and Environmental Protection MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Nuclear Science and Applications MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.