Quantum Dots for Radiation Detection

Radiation dosimetry is critical for immediate and near-term consequence management following a radiological/nuclear event. Current dosimeters are expensive, unreliable for partial-body exposure evaluation, may lack real-time feedback, often require bulky batteries, and rely on highly-trained dedicated personnel to operate. There is an outstanding need for lightweight, real-time, easy-to-use and robust radiation detectors that can measure environmental, whole- and partial-body irradiation, and internal contamination.


Quantum Dots are nano-scale sized crystals that fluoresce when exposed to light. Dots shown here are composed of a CdSe core with a ZnS layer (total diameter of 4.4 nm).
R.Z. Stodilka
hybrid imaging
J.J.L. Carson
optical imaging and spectroscopy

Optical Imaging

J.J. Battista
radiation therapy physics
Future Directions

This project builds upon IP held jointly by Lawson Scientists, NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences, Defence R&D Canada, and Health Canada. Deliverables have application in diagnostic imaging, radiation oncology, and sectors requiring radiation monitoring equipment (healthcare, energy, military). We are presently seeking partnership with a major manufacturer of radiation monitoring equipment.

Key Accomplishments

We are the first group to demonstrate that colloidal photoluminescent semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) respond to radiation in a way that is easy to detect and reproducible over a wide range of doses. This discovery raises the possibility of creating next-generation radiation dosimeters with broad applicability. Quantum Dots as dosimeters for the detection of a very wide dynamic range of radiation offer a robust, affordable, environmentally-inert alternative to present-day detection technologies. Work is underway to miniaturize this technology for micro- or nano- dosimetry for intracellular applications.

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