An Efficient, Affordable Optically Stimulated Luminescent (OSL) Annealer
Optically stimulated luminescent (OSL) dosimeters are devices used for measuring doses of ionizing radiation. Signal is stored within an OSL material so that when stimulated with light, light of a specific wavelength is emitted in proportion to the integrated ionizing radiation dose. Each interrogation of the material results in the loss of a small fraction of signal, thus allowing multiple interrogations leading to more accurate measurements of dose. In order to reuse a dosimeter, the residual signals from prior doses must be taken into account and subtracted from current readings, adding uncertainty to any future measurements. To reduce these errors when they become large, it is desirable to completely clear the stored signal or anneal the dosimeter. Traditionally, heating the material has accomplished this. In a commercially available dosimeter badge system, the OSL material Al2O3:C is incorporated into a plastic slide that would melt at the necessary high temperatures, which can reach 900 °C, required for annealing. Fortunately, due to the material's high sensitivity to light, OSLs can be optically annealed instead. In order to do this, an affordable OSL dosimeter annealer was designed with inexpensive, exchangeable blue, green, and white high intensity light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Several dosimeters were repeatedly annealed for recorded intervals and then read out. A single dosimeter was partially annealed through repeated interrogations with the LED array from a commercial reader. The signal loss due to the exposure to each light was analyzed to determine the practicality and efficiency of each color. The rate and extent of signal loss was dependent not only on the spectrum of annealing light but on the initial signal levels as well. These findings suggest that blue LEDs are the most promising for effective and rapid clearing of the OSL material Al2O3:C.