Module code: PHYM015

Module Overview

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

Module provider

Mathematics & Physics

Module Leader

CATFORD Wilton (Maths & Phys)

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: 96

Lecture Hours: 20

Tutorial Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 20

Captured Content: 12

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative module content includes: 

Radiation detectors 

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.




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.



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
Coursework Statistics Coursework 20

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: Coursework of the statistical methods for interpreting related experimental data. A coursework assignment to assess further understanding of aspects of radiation detection and a formal examination of radiation detection and radiation dosimetry as given in lectures.

  • The examination at the end of semester will be of 2 hours duration and will comprise two questions on each of radiation detection and radiation dosimetry. Students will be required to choose three questions to answer.

Formative assessment and feedback

Four formative statistics tests. In addition there is an assignment set, 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.

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 Develop a comprehensive understanding of the role of fundamental processes involved with the interaction of X- and gamma-ray photons, charged particles and neutrons with matter as well as the methods required to calculate dose and radiation effects KCP
002 Planning and implementation of the critical aspects of radiation detection and shielding KCPT
003 Detailed knowledge of the principles of operation of solid state semi-conductor detectors, scintillation counters, gas ionization detectors KCP
004 Awareness of the selection criteria and application of radiation detectors for different types of radiation measurement and in what environments in terms of both dosimetry and spectroscopy KCPT
005 Carry through a detailed investigation of radiation sources and their interactions KCP
006 Critical analysis and ability to summarise original dosimetry data KCPT

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 captured content, 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

Other information

The School of Mathematics and Physics is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas:

Employability: the module introduces learners to experimental equipment and techniques used by professional scientists in both industry and academia.  The
module by teaching about radiation detectors is linked to the laboratory module, therefore represents a key opportunity to practise and develop problem solving skills.

Sustainability: Modern technology and devices have the capability to consume significant resources in construction, and energy during use, and the course will expose students to the ways in which these problems may occur. Technology can also be a major part of the solution, and students will be given understanding of the principles and design of devices used in the generation of nuclear energy.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Nuclear Science and Applications MSc 1 Compulsory 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
Nuclear Science and Radiation Protection MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Physics MSc 1 Optional 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 2025/6 academic year.