Equivalent dose (symbol HT) is a dose quantity calculated for individual organs (index T – tissue). Equivalent dose is based on the absorbed dose to an organ, adjusted to account for the effectiveness of the type of radiation. Equivalent dose is given the symbol HT. The SI unit of HT is the sievert (Sv) or but rem (roentgen equivalent man) is still commonly used (1 Sv = 100 rem). Unit of sievert was named after the Swedish scientist Rolf Sievert, who did a lot of the early work on dosimetry in radiation therapy.
Units of equivalent dose:
- Sievert. The sievert is a derived unit of equivalent dose and effective dose and for represents the equivalent biological effect of the deposit of a joule of gamma rays energy in a kilogram of human tissue.
- REM. The rem (an abbreviation for Roentgen Equivalent Man) is the non-SI unit of the equivalent dose, which is used predominantly in the USA. It is a term for dose equivalence and equals the biological damage that would be caused by one rad of dose.
A dose of one Sv caused by gamma radiation is equivalent to an energy deposition of one joule in a kilogram of a tissue. That means one sievert is equivalent to one gray of gamma rays deposited in certain tissue. On the other hand, similar biological damage (one sievert) can be caused only by 1/20 gray of alpha radiation.
One sievert is a large amount of equivalent dose. A person who has absorbed a whole body dose of 1 Sv has absorbed one joule of energy in each kg of body tissue (in case of gamma rays).
Equivalent doses measured in industry and medicine often have usually lower doses than one sievert, and the following multiples are often used:
1 mSv (millisievert) = 1E-3 Sv
1 µSv (microsievert) = 1E-6 Sv
Conversions from the SI units to other units are as follows:
- 1 Sv = 100 rem
- 1 mSv = 100 mrem
The rem represents the equivalent biological effect of the deposit of one hundred ergs (one rad) of gamma rays energy in a kilogram of human tissue. The rem is not derived from the unit of exposure, the roentgen. The acronym is now a misleading historical artifact, since 1 roentgen actually deposits about 0.96 rem in soft biological tissue, when all weighting factors equal unity.