Dosimetry System Based on Optically Stimulated Luminesence

Categories: “Diagnostics

Reference #: 2009-013

OTC Contact: Ruchika Nijhara, Ph.D., MBA, CLP (Directory Information | Send a Message)


Exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation can be harmful. Measuring the level of an individual’s exposure is useful in allocating resources and determining appropriate methods of treatment. For example, individuals with sub-clinical exposures can be followed as outpatients whereas individuals with significant absorbed doses can be referred to hospitals for treatment. Individuals with even higher doses (greater than 10 Gy) may be triaged for compassionate care or extreme, last resort, treatment options. In some circumstances, it can be useful to determine the exposure of an entire population to a source of ionizing radiation, for example, in mass-casualty radiation accidents, or in incidents of radiological terrorism.


The invention allows the detection and quantification of an individual’s exposure to ionizing radiation.


  • Detection of exposure to ionizing radiation is more sensitive and accurate than existing technologies such as electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR).
  • The instrumentation required for the method is smaller and less expensive to implement.
  • The results are immediate as it takes less than one minute per sample.
  • Sample gathering is less invasive and since the fingernail clipping is taken from the patient prior to testing, the patient is not exposed to the UV irradiation.
  • It is possible to rapidly screen and triage a large number of people that may have been exposed to ionizing radiation.

Stage of Development

Georgetown University investigator Marko Moscovitch, Ph.D., has developed a non-invasive, rapid and cost effective method and device for detecting exposure to ionizing radiation based on Optically Stimulated Luminesence (OSL). The method involves a brief exposure of an individual’s clipped fingernail, for example, to an ultraviolet (UV) light source. The exposure to UV light induces the sample to emit a signal. The number of photons emitted by the sample is proportional to the radiation dose absorbed previously by the individual.

Relevant Publications

No references or resources available.

Patent Status

PCT Application Publication WO2011/094234