Radon Gas & Radon Testing

Radon Gas & Radon Testing

Radon Gas & Radon Testing

for Canadians

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Alpha Track Technology

An Alpha Track consists of a small piece of plastic or film enclosed in a container with a filter-covered opening or similar design for excluding radon decay products. Radon diffuses into the container and alpha particles emitted by the radon and its decay products strike the detector and produce submicroscopic damage tracks. At the end of the testing period, the detectors are returned to a laboratory. Plastic detectors are placed in a caustic solution that accentuates the damage tracks so they can be counted using a microscope or an automated counting system. The number of tracks per unit area is correlated to the radon concentration in air, using a conversion factor derived from data generated at a calibration facility. The number of tracks per unit of analyzed detector area produced per unit of time (minus the background) is proportional to the radon concentration.  Alpha Track detectors function as true integrators and measure the average concentration over the exposure period.

 

Many factors contribute to the variability of Alpha Track results, including differences in the detector response within and between batches of plastic, non-uniform plate-out of decay products inside the detector holder, differences in the number of background tracks, and variations in etching conditions. Since the variability in Alpha Track results decreases with the number of net tracks counted, counting more tracks over a larger area of the detector, particularly at low exposures, will reduce the uncertainty of the result.

 

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