Radiation detector, 'Scintillation Meter type 5.40', metal / plastic, made by Mini Instruments Inc, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, England, 1963-2005
These various radiation meters were originally procured and/or used by the NSW government agencies including the former State Pollution Control Commission (SPCC), the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the NSW Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), and possibly the NSW Department of Health. These agencies, collectively over the years regulated the use of radiation apparatus (for example x-ray machines used in medical diagnostics) and radioactive substances (for example cobalt-60 used in industrial gauging applications).
The equipment was used to measure the type and intensity of radiation and it exemplifies one of the many aspects of regulation administered by government health departments and augments the Museum's collection of measuring instruments and workplace health and safety material.
Written by Erika Dicker
Assistant Curator, 2007.
Radiation detector made by Mini Instruments Inc in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, England, between 1980-2005
Mini Instruments was developed in 1963 and currently (as of 2007) Thermo Scientific are the producers of 'Mini Instruments'.
The mini monitor is well established in teaching, research, hospital and industrial laboratories as a reliable, convenient, and inexpensive contamination meter. The machine has a large logarithmically scaled meter with an open scale at the lower end to show background levels of radiation while displaying high levels without switching. There is also speaker to give an audible estimation of radiation intensity. There is an alarm which can be set to trip at any level on the scale. The unit can be battery or mains operated.
A scintillation counter measures ionizing radiation. The sensor, called a scintillator, consists of a transparent crystal, usually phosphor, plastic (usually containing anthracene), 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.
These detectors are available with different probes, each capable of being used at a specific energy range.