An improved system and method of analyzing cumulative radiation exposure registered as pits on track etch foils of radiation dosimeters. The light scattering apparatus and method of the present invention increases the speed of analysis while it also provides the ability to analyze exposure levels beyond that which may be properly measured with conventional techniques. Dosimeters often contain small plastic sheets that register accumulated damage when exposed to a radiation source. When the plastic sheet from the dosimeter is chemically etched, a track etch foil is produced wherein pits or holes are created in the plastic. The number of these pits, or holes, per unit of area (pit density) correspond to the amount of cumulative radiation exposure which is being optically measured by the apparatus. To measure the cumulative radiation exposure of a track etch foil a high intensity collimated beam is passed through foil such that the pits and holes within the track etch foil cause a portion of the impinging light beam to become scattered upon exit. The scattered light is focused with a lens, while the primary collimated light beam (unscattered light) is blocked. The scattered light is focused by the lens onto an optical detector capable of registering the optical power of the scattered light which corresponds to the cumulative radiation to which the track etch foil has been exposed.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.