Comparison of the uncertainties of several European low-dose calibration facilities

H. Dombrowski, N.A. Cornejo Díaz, M.P. Toni, M. Mihelic, A. Röttger

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The typical uncertainty of a low-dose rate calibration of a detector, which is calibrated in a dedicated secondary national calibration laboratory, is investigated, including measurements in the photon field of metrology institutes. Calibrations at low ambient dose equivalent rates (at the level of the natural ambient radiation) are needed when environmental radiation monitors are to be characterised. The uncertainties of calibration measurements in conventional irradiation facilities above ground are compared with those obtained in a low-dose rate irradiation facility located deep underground. Four laboratories quantitatively evaluated the uncertainties of their calibration facilities, in particular for calibrations at low dose rates (250 nSv/h and 1 μSv/h). For the first time, typical uncertainties of European calibration facilities are documented in a comparison and the main sources of uncertainty are revealed. All sources of uncertainties are analysed, including the irradiation geometry, scattering, deviations of real spectra from standardised spectra, etc. As a fundamental metrological consequence, no instrument calibrated in such a facility can have a lower total uncertainty in subsequent measurements. For the first time, the need to perform calibrations at very low dose rates (< 100 nSv/h) deep underground is underpinned on the basis of quantitative data.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberP04023
Pages (from-to)-
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Mathematical Physics

Cite this

Dombrowski, H., Díaz, N. A. C., Toni, M. P., Mihelic, M., & Röttger, A. (2018). Comparison of the uncertainties of several European low-dose calibration facilities. Journal of Instrumentation, 13(4), -. [P04023].