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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Our Environment and Climate


What's radiating here?

Low-dose calibration facility in PTB's underground laboratory UDO II

Concerning ionizing radiation, the focus can be on two different aspects: either on the radiating object itself, or on the dose a person receives. In both cases, the German Radiation Protection Act applies and PTB is active when precise measurements are needed. In the first case, looking at the object itself, the unit of the becquerel is involved. Here, PTB ensures the traceability of radioactivity measurements on environmental samples from Germany, Europe and beyond. Besides conventional environmental samples (water, soil, food, etc.), industrial products are also analyzed (building materials, residues and waste); both artificial and natural radionuclides are relevant. PTB's focus is on calibration measurements for comparison and reference materials. When considering – in the second case – the dose, the unit of measurement is the sievert. PTB is mainly active in the field of low dose rates. It operates the UDO II underground laboratory (with a minimum area dose rate), a reference measuring station on water (a floating platform without the terrestrial radiation component) and a reference measuring area which records cosmic radiation in addition to the terrestrial dose rate (caused by natural radioactivity). The above-mentioned components can be separated via comparative measurements. In the future, PTB will, among other things, further develop the measurement of alpha-emitting nuclides in the environment by means of optical methods in order to be able to detect contaminations from great distances.


Participating department
Opens internal link in current window6 Ionizing Radiation