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Determination of radiation exposure history of common materials and computer hardware by using atomic (and magnetic force) microscopy

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4 Author(s)
Sharma, J. ; Carderock Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Bethesda, Maryland 20817 ; Teter, J.P. ; Abbundi, R.J. ; Guardala, N.A.

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Defects produced by ionizing radiation are smaller than a micrometer and are unobservable in an optical microscope. An atomic force microscope was utilized to reveal their counts and structure in common materials like mica, silicon, organic solids, polymers, sugar, quartz, and calcite. A magnetic force microscope has shown the damage of radiation on computer hard disks. The present work shows that exposure to radioactive material leaves a permanent record, which can be read for dosimetric or forensic purposes by using atomic force microcopy on common objects or a magnetic force microscope on magnetic media.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:82 ,  Issue: 14 )