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Peer-reviewed publications using TASTRAK™ PADC, CR-39 plastic track detectors and TASLImage


Response of nuclear track detector CR-39 to low energy muons
Thomas HSP, Deas RM, Kirkham LN, Dodd PM, Zemaityte E, Hillier AD, Neely D.
Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 63 (2021) 124001 Open Access:
Category: Cosmic Rays; Muon dosimetry in environments with a high radiological dose such as laser plasma acceleration experiments.
Abstract: The effectiveness of the PolyAllyl Diglycol Carbonate (PADC) etched solid state nuclear track detector (SSNTD), commonly known as CR-39, as a muon detector is assessed. CR-39 is successfully used to detect higher rest mass particles such as neutrons and protons, and is, for example, widely used in neutron dosimetry applications. CR-39 is generally accepted as being less suitable to detect lower rest mass particles such as muons, and especially electrons, due mostly to their reduced momenta and consequently, reduced stopping power. However, there has been some evidence that CR-39 may have application in the detection of cosmic ray muons. Monte Carlo simulations indicate that CR-39 can detect muons with energies up to 2.8 MeV. Experimental data to demonstrate the ability of CR-39 to detect muons was acquired using the MuSR spectrometer station at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source. Pits deposited in CR-39 generated by positive muons from the beamline have been characterised and compared with pits deposited by protons and neutrons from other sources. The extent to which a CR-39 SSNTD can discriminate muons from particles with different momenta and rest masses is discussed.
Keywords: PADC, TASTRAK™, CR-39, muons, muon detector
"In this experiment we used PADC SSNTD commonly known as CR-39 obtained from Track Analysis Systems Ltd under the tradename TASTRAK™."
"Scanning was carried out with an automated scanning system and software produced by Track Analysis Systems Ltd (TASLImage™)."
"The TASLImage™ scanning and readout system [21] detects and records 'events' within a given frame, measuring the parameters shown in figure 4, such as: the minor and major diameter of each pit, the depth to which the track has been etched, and information which can give the angle of incidence of the track."
"Reference [21]: The TASLImage™ Radon dosimetry system (Track Analysis Systems Ltd) (Available at:"


Energy calibration of a CR-39 nuclear-track detector irradiated by charged particles.
Yue Zhang, Hong-Wei Wang, Yu-Gang Ma, Long-Xiang Liu, Xi-Guang Cao, Gong-Tao Fan, Guo-Qiang Zhang, De-Qing Fang. 2019.
Category: Laser Plasma Fusion.
Abstract: Charged particle diagnosis is an important aspect of laser–plasma experiments conducted at super-intense laser facilities. In recent years, Columbia Resin #39 (CR-39) detectors have been widely employed for detecting charged particles in laser–plasma experiments. This is because the CR-39 polymer does not respond to electromagnetic pulses or X-rays. This study presents a method for calibrating the relationship between particle energy and track diameter in a CR-39 detector (TASTRAK™) using 3–8 MeV protons, 6–30 MeV carbon ions, and 1–5 MeV alpha particles. The particle tracks were compared under the manufacturer's recommended etching conditions of 6.25 mol/l NaOH at 98 °C and under the widely adopted experimental conditions of 6.25 mol/l NaOH at 70 °C. The results show that if the NaOH solution concentration is 6.25 mol/l, then the temperature of 70 °C is more suitable for etching proton tracks than 98 °C and employing a temperature of 98 °C to etch alpha-particle and carbon-ion tracks can significantly reduce the etching time. Moreover, this result implies that C3+ ion or alpha-particle tracks can be distinguished from proton tracks with energy above 3 MeV by controlling the etching time. This calibration method for the CR-39 detector can be applied to the diagnosis of reaction products in laser–plasma experiments.


High Dose Fast Neutron Dosimetry using PADC Plastic Nuclear Track Detectors and Grey Level Analysis
Stabilini A, Meier AK, Yukihara EG. 2018.
Radiation Protection Dosimetry 180(1–4):220–224. doi:10.1093/rpd/ncx186
Category: TASLImage; Neutron Dosimetry.
Abstract: The objective of this work is to demonstrate the possibility of performing fast neutron dosimetry up to 5 Sv using optical absorbance of polyallyl diglycol carbonate (PADC) detectors, obtained through grey level analysis of PADC images acquired with a commercial track-counting dosimetry system, and estimate the uncertainties involved. PADCs were irradiated with doses from 100 mSv to 5 Sv (252Cf source) and etched. PADC images were acquired using the TASLIMAGE™ Neutron Dosimetry System (Track Analysis Systems Ltd.) and analysed to obtain the grey levels and the optical absorbance. The absorbance from different detectors and batches was analysed to determine the uncertainties involved, from which the final uncertainty in the method, ~30% and dominated by the uncertainty in the calibration curve, was estimated A dose estimation <2 Sv can also be performed using a 'universal curve' by normalising the absorbance to that of a detector irradiated with 1 Sv. The data presented here allows the extension of the dose range of track counting systems using no additional equipment, only the images already acquired by the systems.
PADC TASTRAK™ detectors manufactured by Track Analysis System Ltd. (TASL), of 20 mm × 25 mm × 1.5 mm dimension were used in this study.

Analysis and imaging of boron distribution in maize by quantitative neutron capture radiography
Wang X, Brockman JD, Guthrie JM, Lever SZ. 2018.
Applied Radiation and Isotopes 140:252-261.
Category: Neutron Capture Therapy.
Abstract: Quantitative neutron capture radiography (QNCR) of 10B found in pre-dried maize samples has been conducted. Calibration standards constructed from filter paper mimicked plant tissues to reduce confounding matrix effects. A mathematical track elimination method improves the LOD as well as the visual contrast image at low boron concentration levels. The LOD for total boron is 1.7 µg/g in a 4 mm2 region of interest (ROI). The w(B) in five individual maize tassel meristems has been determined to be 14.9 µg/g – 21.2 µg/g.
"The TASLIMAGE™ system includes 1.5 mm thick TASTRAK™ SSNTD CR-39 single use detectors"

Application of track detectors to measure neutrons emitted from a 14 MeV neutron generator
Malinowskaa A, Szydłowskib A, Kwiatkowskia R, Burakowskia S, Gierlika M. Malinowski MK, Rzadkiewicza J. 2018.
Radiation Measurements 119:170-173.
Category: Neutron dosimetry and spectroscopy.
Abstract: This paper reports on applicability of a polyallyl-diglycol-carbonate (PADC) detectors of the CR-39 TASTRAK™ type as integrated neutron fluence sensors for monitoring of neutrons emitted from 14 MeV neutron generator. Neutron generators such as SODERN Model: GENIE 16 D are powerful emitters of fusion neutrons from DT reactions with yields up to 2 × 108 n.s−1 . The presented generator is now available worldwide as a source of neutrons with a rather wide range of applications in medicine, industry and in the detection of hazardous materials. Before using in those measurements, the CR-39 TASTRAK™ type detector was precisely calibrated. Rectangular track detector samples prepared for neutron flux measurements are in the form of "sandwiches" consisting of a detector plate covered by a thick polythene (PE) radiator and in some part by a Cu-filter. In order to estimate how many neutrons could be converted into recoil-protons we have performed computer calculations by means of MC methods.

On the consistency among different approaches for nuclear track scanning and data processing
Inozemtsev KO, Kushin VV, Kodaira S, Shurshakov VA. 2018.
Nuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research, A. 887:133-137.
Category: Space Physics radiation track measurements.
Abstract: The article describes various approaches for space radiation track measurement using CR-39™ detector (TASTRAK™). The results of comparing different methods for track scanning and data processing are presented. Basic algorithms for determination of track parameters are described. Every approach involves individual set of measured track parameters. For two sets, track scanning is sufficient in the plane of detector surface (2-D measurement), third set requires scanning in the additional projection (3-D measurement). An experimental comparison of considered techniques was made with the use of accelerated heavy ions Ar, Fe and Kr.


A one-shot imaging system for neutron track counting
Ferrari P, Mariotti F, Lorenzo Campani L. 2017.
Radiation Measurements: 106:205-209.
Category: Neutron dosimetry.
Abstract: The Individual Monitoring Service of ENEA Radiation Protection Institute supplies thousands of dosemeters for fast neutron dosimetry per year to a series of national laboratories and hospitals. A PADC (poly allyl diglycol carbonate) sheet is used to detect neutron tracks through a chemical etching process. A track reader has been developed with the main idea of employing a CCD camera to get one-shot image acquisition of the etched dosemeter for the track counting. The digital image, that can be visually inspected on the video by the operator during the acquisition, is analyzed through a Labview program, that controls all the phases of the procedure and produces a report containing the evaluated doses and the results of the basic image quality analysis performed. The developed system showed a good reproducibility and stability and its accuracy was judged adequate for our radiation monitoring needs.
"The current ENEA fast neutron dosemeter consists of a 2.5 cm x 3.5 cm x 0.14 cm PADC track detector produced by TASTRAK©"


Stability of the Neutron Dose Determination Algorithm for Personal Neutron Dosemeters at different Radon Gas Exposures
Mayer S, Boschung M, Butterweck G, Assenmacher F, Hohmann E. 2016.
Radiation Protection Dosimetry 170(1–4):154–157. doi:10.1093/rpd/ncv408
Category: Neutron Dosimetry.
Abstract: Since 2008 the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has been using a microscope-based automatic scanning system for assessing personal neutron doses with a dosemeter based on PADC. This scanning system, known as TASLImage, includes a comprehensive characterisation of tracks. The distributions of several specific track characteristics such as size, shape and optical density are compared with a reference set to discriminate tracks of alpha particles and non-track background. Due to the dosemeter design at PSI, it is anticipated that radon should not significantly contribute to the creation of additional tracks in the PADC detector. The present study tests the stability of the neutron dose determination algorithm of the personal neutron dosemeter system in operation at PSI at different radon gas exposures.
"The PADC detectors used in this study have been produced by Track Analysis Systems Ltd (TASL), which is known under the trade name TASTRAK™."


A Study of the CR-39 Track Detector Sensitivity to Heavy Charged Particles of Space Radiation
Kushin VV, Inozemtsev KO. 2015.
Instruments and Experimental Techniques, 58(6):794–798.
Category: Space Physics radiation track measurements.
Abstract: The sensitivity of the 1-mm-thick solid-state CR-39 TASTRAK™ track detector to space radiation particles in a wide linear energy transfer range, α particles with energies near the Bragg peak, and accelerated 39Ar nuclei with different angles of incidence has been measured. Various approaches to track scanning and data processing algorithms were used to measure the sensitivity. Comparative analysis of experimental results is presented. Practical recommendations on the application of obtained results for evaluation of nuclear track detectors exposed in low-Earth orbit were developed.

Occurrence of Radon in the Polish Underground Tourist Routes
Olszewski J, Zmyślony M, Wrzesień M, Walczak K. 2015.
Med Pr 66(4):557–563.
Category: Radon in underground locations
Abstract: Background: There are about 200 underground tourist routes in Poland. There are caves, mines or underground structures. This paper presents the results of the research intended to identify the extent of the occurrence of radon concentrations in underground areas of tourist routes. Material and Methods: We conducted the measurement of periodic concentrations of radon (1–2 months) in the summer using type TASTRAK™ trace detectors. We determined the average concentrations of radon in air in 66 underground tourist routes in Poland. Results: The research results comprise 259 determinations of average radon concentrations in 66 routes. The arithmetic average of the results was 1610 Bq m–3, and the maximum measured concentration was over 20 000 Bq m–3. The minimum concentration was 100 Bq m–3 (threshold method) considering the arithmetic average of the measurements. It was found that in 67% of the routes, the average concentration of radon has exceeded 300 Bq m–3 and in 22 underground routes it exceeded 1000 Bq m–3. Conclusions: Radon which occurs in many Polish underground tourist routes may be an organizational, legal and health problem. It is necessary to develop a program of measures to reduce radon concentrations in underground routes, especially routes located in the former mines.


Influence of variation of etching conditions on the sensitivity of PADC detectors with a new evaluation method.
Fiechtner-Scharrer A, Mayer S, Boschung M, Whitelaw A. 2011.
Radiation Protection Dosimetry 144(1–4):150–154. doi:10.1093/rpd/ncq558
Category: TASLImage evaluation for neutron dosimetry.
Abstract: At the Paul Scherrer Institut, a personal neutron dosimetry system based on chemically etched poly allyl diglycol carbonate (PADC) detectors and an automatic track counting (Autoscan 60) for neutron dose evaluations has been in routine use since 1998. Today, the hardware and the software of the Autoscan 60 are out of date, no spare components are available anymore and more sophisticated image-analysis systems are already developed. Therefore, a new evaluation system, the 'TASLIMAGE', was tested thoroughly in 2009 for linearity, reproducibility, influence of etching conditions and so forth, with the intention of replacing the Autoscan 60 in routine evaluations. The TASLIMAGE system is based on a microscope (high-quality Nikon optics) and an ultra-fast three-axis motorised control for scanning the detectors. In this paper, the TASLIMAGE system and its possibilities for neutron dose calculation are explained in more detail and the study of the influence of the variation of etching conditions on the sensitivity and background of the PADC detectors is described. The etching temperature and etching duration were varied, which showed that the etching conditions do not have a significant influence on the results of non-irradiated detectors. However, the sensitivity of irradiated detectors decreases by 5 % per 18C when increasing the etching temperature. For the variation of the etching duration, the influence on the sensitivity of irradiated detectors is less pronounced.
"In this study, neutron detection is performed using TASTRAKTM track etch detectors purchased from Track Analysis Systems Ltd (TASL)."

Evaluation of risk of secondary cancer occurrence after proton radiotherapy of ocular tumours
Stolarczyk L, Cywicka-Jakiel T, Horwacik, T. et al. 2011.
Radiation Measurements 46(12),DOI 10.1016/j.radmeas.2011.05.046
Category: Proton beam therapy
Abstract: Reduction of undesired exposure to scattered neutron and gamma radiation associated with proton therapy should reduce the risk of occurrence of secondary cancers, especially in paediatric patients. By replacing the patient with a RANDO (R) antropomorphic phantom, we determined the undesired radiation doses during the entire course of treatment at the ocular proton radiotherapy facility at IFJ PAN in Krakow and estimated the associated risk of secondary cancers. The highest exposure from the scattered radiation, per therapeutic proton absorbed dose, was found in the brain close to the target volume. Using TASTRAK™ PADC track detectors we estimated the fast neutron dose equivalent in the brain at 15.2 µSv/Gy, a value consistent with 17.06 µSv/Gy obtained from MCNPX 2.5.0 Monte Carlo calculations. The ambient dose equivalent, H*(10), determined with WENDI II and FHT 192 detectors at the position of the patient (50 cm below the isocentre), was 2.41 µSv/Gy from neutrons and 0.43 µSv/Gy from gamma-rays, respectively. Based on estimated values of organ dose equivalents, we evaluate the whole-body risk of fatal secondary cancers per course of treatment at below 0.001%.

The response of CR-39 nuclear track detector to 1-9 MeV protons
Sinenian N, Rosenberg MJ, Manuel M, Petrasso RD, et al. 2011.
Review of Scientific Instruments 82(10):103303, DOI: 10.1063/1.3653549
Category: Nuclear plasma fusion.
Abstract: The response of CR-39 nuclear track detector (TasTrak (R)) to protons in the energy range of 0.92-9.28 MeV has been studied. Previous studies of the CR-39 response to protons have been extended by examining the piece-to-piece variability in addition to the effects of etch time and etchant temperature; it is shown that the shape of the CR-39 response curve to protons can vary from piece-to-piece. Effects due to the age of CR-39 have also been studied using 5.5 MeV alpha particles over a 5-year period. Track diameters were found to degrade with the age of the CR-39 itself rather than the age of the tracks, consistent with previous studies utilizing different CR-39 over shorter time periods.


Track etch based LET spectrometry in beams of neutrons with energies from 0.2 to 200 MeV
Brabcova K, Spurny F, Jadrnickova I, 2009
Radiation Measurements 44(9-10):969-971, DOI 10.1016/j.radmeas.2009.10.089
Category: Detector characterisation for Neutron Dosimetry and Spectroscopy.
Abstract: There is still need to develop further methods able to characterize an external exposure to neutrons This. contribution presents results obtained with linear energy transfer spectrometer based on the chemically etched track detectors. There were employed two types of polyallyl diglycol carbonates, Page and TASTRAK™, to obtain spectra of linear energy transfer. Detectors were exposed to monoenergetic neutron beams with energies of 0.2, 0.5,1, 3, 7,15, 20, 100 and 200 MeV. Calculated dose equivalents are compared with delivered reference values.

Effect of thermal annealing on optical properties of CR-39 polymeric track detector
Gupta NR, Sharma T, Aggarwal S, Kumar S. 2009.
Indian Journal of Physics and Proceedings of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science 83(7):921-926, DOI 10.1007/s12648-009-0049-4
Category: Properties of track detectors
Abstract: The samples of CR-39 polymer (TASTRAK™, Bristol, England) were annealed thermally at various temperatures ranging from 100 degrees C to 180 degrees C for 1 hour, in air. FTIR spectroscopy reveals the structural degradation of CR-39 polymer due to thermal annealing above its glass transition temperature. Optical band gap of pristine and thermally annealed samples has been determined using UV-Visible absorption spectra. It has been observed that the optical band gap decreases continuously as a result of annealing.


Sizing Particles of Natural Uranium and Nuclear Fuels using Poly-Allyl-Diglycol Carbonate Autoradiography
Hegyi G, Richardson RB. 2008.
Radiation Protection Dosimetry 130(4):466–475. doi:10.1093/rpd/ncn071
Category: Environmental Radioactivity; Nuclear Discharges; Hot Particles.
Abstract: Theoretical and experimental methods were developed to assess the size distribution of alpha-emitting particles captured on air-sampler filters. The particle size of oxides of low enriched, depleted and natural uranium and also aged plutonium in mixed oxide reactor fuels of known composition was determined using poly-allyl-diglycol carbonate (PADC) autoradiography, the commercial product TASTRAK™, solid-state nuclear track detectors. The exposed PADC was chemically etched to reveal clusters of tracks, radially dispersing from central points. A theoretical model was developed which converted the number of tracks in a track cluster to the hot particle diameter. The diameters of 26 particles of natural uranium oxide were measured (4–130 µm) using an optical microscope. There was a good agreement between these particle size measurements and a theoretical assessment based on the track cluster count.


Application of SSNTD for maintenance of radiation and nuclear safety of the Sarcophagus
Bondarenka OA, Korneev AA, Onishchukc YuN, Berezhnoya AV, Aryasova PB, Antonyuka D, Dmitrienko AV. 1999.
Radiation Measurements 30:709-714.
Category: Natural radioactivity, nuclear discharge hot particle measurements.
Abstract: Object ''Shelter'' (known world-wide as the Sarcophagus) is a source of very high radiological and nuclear hazard. Transfer of the Sarcophagus into an ecologically safe site is a task not only for Ukraine but also for the world community. A composite approach to maintenance of radiation and nuclear safety of the Sarcophagus applying spectrometric methods using solid state nuclear track detectors (SSNTD) is suggested in this paper. The aspects are: (1) monitoring of transuranium element inhalation intake to a human body of nuclear workers; (2) neutron flux evaluation in some premises of the Sarcophagus; (3) fuel hot particle detection in air of working zones; (4) radon and thoron simultaneous measurements.
"All 10 disks were measured for alpha activity by TASTRAK™ CR-39 type track detectors"


The method of simultaneous size and activity measurement of alpha-emitting hot particles using multiple track analysis of solid state nuclear track detectors
Bondarenko, OA, Henshaw, DL, Salmon PL, Ross AN. 1995
Radiation Measurements 25:373-376.
Category: Alpha-particle emitting hot particle measurements
Abstract: Current work is concentrated upon the detection and analysis of hot particles from contaminated ground. Simultaneous measurement of parameters as activity and size of radioactive particle would have immense value for many applications in radiation protection and control of the environment. The algorithm and performance of multiple alpha track analysis is discussed.
"The plastic detector TASTRAK™ (CR-39 type) used in this work is manufactured by Track Analysis System Ltd."


UK national survey of radon in domestic water supplies
Janet E Allen, Geoffrey C Camplin, Denis L Henshaw, Paul A Keitch, Jackie Perryman, 1993
Phys. Educ. 28:173-177.
Category: Environmental Radioactivity; Radon; Teaching Radioactivity in Schools
Abstract: Radon in domestic water supplies has been monitored by 504 schools throughout the UK. The results show that the levels of radon in drinking water are well below the threshold value of 100 Bq l-1, but vary significantly from county to county.
"Over the past five years various surveys have been carried out using the detector TASTRAK™ to measure radon levels in the soil and in the home"


A national survey of background α-particle radioactivity: Part of a new approach to teaching radioactivity in schools
Geoffrey C Camplin, Denis L Henshaw, Sarah Lock and Zoe Simmons, 1988
Phys. Educ. 23:212-217.
Category: Environmental Radioactivity; Teaching Radioactivity in Schools
Introduction: During the past five years a new approach to the teaching of radioactivity in schools has been developed in Bristol. This is based on the use of a plastic material, manufactured at Bristol University under the name TASTRAK™, which is highly sensitive to nuclear radiation. The central property of the material is that it will readily record natural background α-radiation. It is this which has been exploited in schools. TASTRAK™ enables children to gain direct experience of and to experiment with α-radiation using the natural activity in their surroundings and so avoiding any contact with manmade sources.
Summary: This survey evolved from our use of TASTRAK™ plastic in schools for teaching radioactivity. From this point of view the survey has been extremely successful. It is the first time that α-radiation has been monitored by school children, giving a national picture. The data have revealed many interesting features of the pattern of α-activity and radon emission from the ground in the UK. The survey clearly needed to be repeated with a much larger sample and this is now in progress. In particular, we hope to obtain much more data from Cornwall, Devon and Somerset where indoor radon levels in houses are known to be high.

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