B3 FAQ

...   Frequently Asked Questions about Our B3 Radiochromic Film Dosimeter products
About B3 Radiochromic Film
What is B3 radiochromic film?

B3 is the trade name of a thin radiochromic film material used for measuring the radiation dose used in industrial processes. GEX Corporation uses the B3 radiochromic film in the manufacturing of its proprietary B3 dosimeters.

The B3 film is pararosaniline cyanide dissolved in polyvinyl butyral (PVB), and is manufactured into a highly-uniform, thin film with a nominal 18μm thickness.

How does B3 film work as a dosimeter?

Upon irradiation B3 film undergoes a predictable and quantifiable chemical color change directly related to the amount of dose of ionizing radiation energy it receives.

B3 dosimeters provide consistent, accurate and precise dose measurements. B3 dosimeters are stable after irradiation by applying a heat treatment.

As with all routine dosimeters, calibration should be carried out with the user’s specific instruments, environment and practices with dosimeters irradiated under conditions of actual use.

What radiation sources can B3 radiochromic film be used for?

B3 film can be used to measure ionizing radiation doses from gamma, X-ray and electron beam sources including low energy electron sources of 80 keV or lower.

How is B3 film measured?

B3 film is ideally measured in a spectrophotometer, to determine the optical absorbance after irradiation. There is no need to measure the individual thickness of B3 dosimeters because of the consistent uniformity of the B3 film.

The spectrophotometer measurement method is non-destructive so dosimeters can be re-measured. B3 dosimeters are stable for a long time after irradiation if the dosimeters are stored under normal laboratory conditions.

GEX recommends the Genesys 20 spectrophotometer, included as part of the complete B3 WINdose Dosimetry System.

B3 film can also be measured using specialized software called RisøScan. RisøScan B3 dosimeter measurement software allows users to scan and analyze B3 dosimeter film using high-resolution bitmap scans from a flatbed scanner.

When was B3 film developed and who was responsible for its development?

Arne Miller, Director of the High Dose Reference Laboratory at Risø National Laboratory, now the Danish Technical University (DTU), was responsible for the development of B3 radiochromic film in 1976. In an effort to create a next-generation radiochromic dosimeter with improved stability and other advancements, Mr. Miller collaborated with Dr. William McLaughlin, of NIST, who originally identified and investigated the potential of radiochromic film as a dosimeter material.

Why was B3 film developed?

B3 film was developed as a next-generation radiochromic film dosimeter, with a wide dose range, measured at a single wavelength, featuring stability and measurement accuracy advantages over existing radiochromic film dosimeters.

What are the advantages of B3 film:

Superior measurement precision and accuracy. B3 film thickness uniformity results in significantly lower dose measurement variability.

Stability. B3 dosimeters are completely stable before and after irradiation.

Usability.  B3 dosimeters are thin enough for use in all radiation processing application, highly flexible, and can be placed directly on products and readily conform to irregular surface geometries. 

Easy to Measure. Simply read the film with a spectrophotometer. No need to measure the individual thickness of B3 dosimeters because of the consistent uniformity of the B3 film.

Has B3 radiochromic film been tested for performance, and where can I obtain the results?

B3 radiochromic dosimetry has been heavily characterized over the commonly used application ranges with published data references dating back to the 1970s.

Each batch of B3 dosimeters is characterized for the repeatability of specific net absorbance by analyzing the data from the sets of dosimeters irradiated during the calibration at each dose value.

Appropriate documented information regarding the effects of temperature, humidity, UV light exposure, and post-irradiation stability of B3 dosimeters are described in the following publication:

Abdel-Fattah A. A. and Miller A. (1996); Temperature, Humidity, and Time. Combined Effects on Radiochromic Film Dosimeters; Radiation Physics and Chem. Vol. 47, No. 4 pp 611-621, Elsevier Science Ltd. Pergamon Press, Great Britain.

Contact GEX for a concise set of recommended practices or rules to use with B3 radiochromic film dosimetry in order to obtain optimum performance results and discuss your specific dosimetry requirements.

Are there any known application restrictions for B3?

B3 is well characterized and established for use in virtually all current radiation processing applications, provided it is calibrated under the approximate conditions of actual use. Use outside of the noted dose range is possible but may have limitations. Contact GEX for more information.

About GEX B3 Radiochromic Dosimeters
Why use a radiochromic film dosimeter, such as the B3?
  • Superior measurement precision and accuracy. B3 film thickness uniformity results in significantly lower dose measurement variability.
  • Stability. B3 dosimeters are completely stable before and after irradiation.
  • Usability.  B3 dosimeters are thin enough for use in all radiation processing application, highly flexible, and can be placed directly on products and readily conform to irregular surface geometries.  
What types of B3 dosimeters are available?

B3 Radiochromic film dosimeters are available in several product options:

B3 Dosimeter – DoseStix

  • The DoseStix provides the simplest and fastest readout of any dosimeter on the market. Eliminating the need for protective gloves, forceps or small suction devices, the DoseStix can be removed from the peel-open pouch and placed directly into a spectrophotometer by hand.
  • Each DoseStix dosimeter is uniquely numbered and barcoded for quick scanning and absolute traceability.
  • The dosimeter is packaged within a transparent pouch protecting the B3 film from stray UV radiation, allowing barcode scanning of the dosimeter through the sealed pouch, and providing a long shelf-life.
  • Product Spec Sheet

B3 Dosimeter – WINdose

  • Small, versatile and robust, the B3 WINdose offers all the benefits available in a radiochromic film dosimeter. Each dosimeter is uniquely numbered and pre-packaged in a barcoded, hermetically sealed foil pouch.
  • Product Spec Sheet

B3 Dosimeter - Specialized Products

  • Bulk packaging and special orders:
    B3 dosimeters can be packaged to suit the differing needs of our clients.
  • B3 products for electron beam qualification dose mapping: 
    • B3110 Risø Wedge Cards - Make setting up and conducting an electron beam energy test simple and highly reproducible with minimal time and effort.
    • B3106 Uniformity Strips - An array of WINdose dosimeters with precise 1 inch spacing.
  • B3 RisøScan Dosimeter
  • RisøScan allows users to scan and analyze dosimeters with a flatbed scanner in one simple step.
    • The B3 RisøScan dosimeter systems is comprised of B3 dosimeter products, the RisøScan Software, and a user-supplied flatbed scanner, and as with all GEX dosimeter products, the RisøScan dosimeters are pre-packaged and hermetically sealed, for protection and long shelf-life.
    • Ideal for use in dose mapping applications.
What types of applications use B3 dosimeters?

B3 dosimeters are used for measuring the radiation dose used in industrial processes, such as medical device sterilization, surface sterilization, crosslinking and curing of inks and coatings, and food irradiation. B3 dosimeters are not used for personnel monitoring, radiation safety, or nuclear power industries.

B3 dosimeters can be used to measure ionizing radiation doses from gamma, X-ray and electron beam sources, including low energy electron sources, with a dose range from <1.0 kGy to > 150 kGy.

How are B3 dosimeters measured?

B3 film is ideally measured in a spectrophotometer, to determine the levels of absorbed dose after irradiation. There is no need to measure the individual thickness of B3 dosimeters because of the consistent uniformity of the B3 film.

The spectrophotometer measurement method is non-destructive so dosimeters can be re-measured. B3 dosimeters are stable for a long time after irradiation if the dosimeters are stored under normal laboratory conditions.

GEX recommends the Genesys 20 spectrophotometer, included as part of the complete GEX Dosimetry System.

B3 film can also be measured using specialized software called RisøScan. RisøScan B3 dosimeter measurement software allows users to scan and analyze B3 dosimeter film uses high-resolution bitmap scans from a flatbed scanner.

What are the advantages of using B3 dosimeters?

B3 dosimeters are quick and simple to use, easy to integrate into a manufacturing process, and easy to integrate into a software database solution.

  • B3 dosimeters are barcoded to provide faster readability. All doses read by the spectrophotometer for each dosimeter can be directly imported into a database.
  • B3 dosimeters are significantly faster to read when compared to other systems.
  • B3 dosimeters are thin, flexible and are featured in an array of dosimeter products designed for specific measurement activities.

B3 dosimeters provide unsurpassed quality assurance

  • The B3 dosimeter exceeds standards of accuracy and precision that is set to meet the stringent dosimetry demands of the sterilization and food irradiation applications.
  • Due to the B3’s material uniformity, there is significantly lower dose measurement uncertainty.
  • B3 dosimeters are completely stable before irradiation, and can be used right off the shelf. 
  • Because the B3 dosimeter is thin, it can be used in a wide variety of electron beam processes.
  • All B3 dosimeters are traceable to the original source and placement in the manufacturing process, because each dosimeter is barcoded and numbered.

B3 dosimeters are a cost-effective solution

  • Because B3 dosimeters have such a high thickness uniformity and are stable before irradiation, there is no need to have to measure individual thickness or monitor pre-irradiation background absorbance values, saving valuable time.
  • Because B3 dosimeters can be measured quickly, this saves related labor costs.
How can I determine if a B3 dosimetry system is appropriate for my application?

The B3 dosimeter is the preferred product choice for most applications and dose ranges from <1.0kGy to >150kGy used in commercial routine irradiation processes. Our alanine dosimetry option is an excellent product choice for low dose applications below 5.0kGy.

When choosing a dosimetry system for you application, an appropriate dosimeter should:

  • Be able to measure the full range of dose to be applied in routine irradiation product processing, equipment characterization, and process testing.
  • Have the physical dimensions and characteristics necessary for successful measurement results.
  • Be versatile and able to be securely fixed against the product surface(s) or wherever dose is to be measured.

GEX technical experts can guide you through the selection process, and can define a solution that works for your specific application requirements.

Can GEX assist customers with the successful implementation of a B3 dosimetry system?

Yes. Complete B3 Dosimetry System implementation and validation guides are standard with the purchase of B3 products.

GEX offers comprehensive customer support for system implementation and validation. Expert technical support is available.

Dosimeter batch calibration services are also available.
What is the practical dose range of a B3 dosimetry system?

For routine use dosimetry systems, B3s wide response range allows it to be calibrated from below 1.0 kGy to more than 100 kGy.

Can B3 dosimetry systems be qualified and used as a reference dosimetry system?

Yes. When used as a reference dosimetry system, the useful range of B3 is limited with a recommended calibration range of approximately 5.0 kGy to 30 kGy.