Nuclear radiation detection tasks are for situations where there is a known presence of radioactive materials which need to be monitored. The goal with this type of detection is awareness. Awareness of the strength of an established radioactive field, the boundaries of a radioactive area, or simply of the spread of radioactive contamination. These are settings where the presence of radiation is expected, or at least considered likely. The requirements for detectors involved in these settings are unique, often with relatively higher measurement ranges or with modifications needed to specifically look for one type of radiation.
Scintillation detectors are widely used in nuclear radiation detection. It work through the connection of scintillation crystals with a photomultiplier (PM) tube. The PM tube uses a photocathode material to convert each pulse of light into an electron, and then amplifies that signal significantly in order to generate a voltage pulse that can then be read and interpreted.
The number of these pulses that are measured over time indicated the strength of the radioactive source being measured, whereas the information on the specific energy of the radiation, as indicated by the number of photons of light being captured in each pulse, gives information on the type of radioactive material present. This information is crucial for a wide range of applications, including nuclear power plant monitoring, radiation therapy for cancer treatment, and environmental radiation monitoring to detect and measure levels of radioactive isotopes in soil, air and water.