TLD Reader – Glow Curve

As was written, previously absorbed energy from electromagnetic radiation or other ionizing radiation in these materials is re-emitted as light upon heating of the material. The intensity of light emitted is measure by TLD reader and it is dependent upon the radiation exposure.  A typical basic TLD reader contains the following components:

  • Heater. Heater raises the temperature of the TL material
  • Photomultiplier tube. PMT amplifies and measures the light output.
  • Meter/Recorder. Recorder is able to display and record data.
Glow Curve - TLD Reader
Glow Curve Source: Dosimetry. Study Guide for Radiological control Technician. DOE-HDBK-1122-99. Department of Energy

In order to obtain the dose received, the TLD chip must be heated in this TLD reader. The trapped electrons return to the ground state and emit photons of visible light. The amount of light emitted relative to the temperature is called the glow curve. This curve is analyzed to determine the dose. After the readout is complete, the TLD is annealed at a high temperature. This process essentially zeroes the TL material by releasing all trapped electrons. The TLD is then ready for reuse. There are two types of readers. Automatic, and manual readers. The automatic TLD reader is a lot more complicated than it might expected.


Radiation Protection:

  1. Knoll, Glenn F., Radiation Detection and Measurement 4th Edition, Wiley, 8/2010. ISBN-13: 978-0470131480.
  2. Stabin, Michael G., Radiation Protection and Dosimetry: An Introduction to Health Physics, Springer, 10/2010. ISBN-13: 978-1441923912.
  3. Martin, James E., Physics for Radiation Protection 3rd Edition, Wiley-VCH, 4/2013. ISBN-13: 978-3527411764.
  5. U.S. Department of Energy, Instrumantation and Control. DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Volume 2 of 2. June 1992.

Nuclear and Reactor Physics:

  1. J. R. Lamarsh, Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA (1983).
  2. J. R. Lamarsh, A. J. Baratta, Introduction to Nuclear Engineering, 3d ed., Prentice-Hall, 2001, ISBN: 0-201-82498-1.
  3. W. M. Stacey, Nuclear Reactor Physics, John Wiley & Sons, 2001, ISBN: 0- 471-39127-1.
  4. Glasstone, Sesonske. Nuclear Reactor Engineering: Reactor Systems Engineering, Springer; 4th edition, 1994, ISBN: 978-0412985317
  5. W.S.C. Williams. Nuclear and Particle Physics. Clarendon Press; 1 edition, 1991, ISBN: 978-0198520467
  6. G.R.Keepin. Physics of Nuclear Kinetics. Addison-Wesley Pub. Co; 1st edition, 1965
  7. Robert Reed Burn, Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Operation, 1988.
  8. U.S. Department of Energy, Nuclear Physics and Reactor Theory. DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Volume 1 and 2. January 1993.
  9. Paul Reuss, Neutron Physics. EDP Sciences, 2008. ISBN: 978-2759800414.

See above: