Scintillometer

Scintillometer is not to be confused with Scintillation counter. Scintillometer is a scientific device used to measure small fluctuations of the refractive index of air caused by variations in temperature, humidity, and pressure. It consists of an optical or radio wave transmitter and a receiver at both ends of an atmospheric propagation path. The receiver detects and evaluates the intensity fluctuations of the transmitted signal, called scintillation.

The magnitude of the refractive index fluctuations is usually measured in terms of Cn^2, the structure constant of refractive index fluctuations, which is the spectral amplitude of refractive index fluctuations in the inertial subrange of turbulence. Some types of scintillometers, such as displaced-beam scintillometers, can also measure the inner scale of refractive index fluctuations, which is the smallest size of eddies in the inertial subrange.

Scintillometers also allow measurements of the transfer of heat between the Earth’s surface and the air above, called the sensible heat flux. Inner-scale scintillometers can also measure the dissipation rate of turbulent kinetic energy and the momentum flux.

Scintillation Counters

Scintillation Counter measures ionizing radiation. The Scintillation sensor, called a scintillator, consists of a transparent crystal, usually phosphor, plastic, or organic liquid that fluoresces when struck by ionizing radiation. A sensitive photomultiplier tube (PMT) measures the light from the crystal. The PMT is attached to an electronic amplifier and other electronic equipment to count and possibly quantify the amplitude of the signals produced by the photomultiplier.

Scintillation counters are widely used because they can be made inexpensively yet with good quantum efficiency. The quantum efficiency of a gamma-ray detector (per unit volume) depends upon the density of electrons in the detector, and certain scintillating materials, such as sodium iodide and bismuth germanate, achieve high electron densities as a result of the high atomic numbers of some of the elements of which they are composed. However, detectors based on semiconductors, notably hyperpure germanium, have better intrinsic energy resolution than scintillators, and are preferred where feasible for gamma-ray spectrometry. In the case of neutron detectors, high efficiency is gained through the use of scintillating materials rich in hydrogen that scatter neutrons efficiently. Liquid scintillation counters are an efficient and practical means of quantifying beta radiation.

Scintillation counters can be used to measure radiation in a variety of applications such as Medical imaging, National and homeland security, Border security, Nuclear plant safety, etc. Several products have been introduced in the market utilizing scintillation counters for detection of potentially dangerous gamma-emitting materials during transport. These include scintillation counters designed for freight terminals, border security, ports, weigh bridge applications, scrap metal yards and contamination monitoring of nuclear waste. There are variants of scintillation counters mounted on pick-up trucks and helicopters for rapid response in case of a security situation due to dirty bombs or radioactive waste. Hand-held Scintillation Counters are also used.