• It has delivered a free-air ionization chamber to CIEMAT that will serve to calibrate and measure x-ray equipment
• The equipment means Spain has a primary standard in radiation measurements, like countries such as the US, UK, Germany and France.
(Eibar, July 2010). Tekniker-IK4 has designed and developed for CIEMAT (Research Agency for Excellence in Energy, Environment and Technology), which is attached to The Science and Innovation Ministry, an instrument that will serve as a standard in Spain to measure and calibrate the radiation of instruments which use X-rays. The equipment, the latest generation of air ionization chamber, means Spain has a primary standard for measurements in this field, which avoids depending on other countries and puts Spain on a level with the US, UK, Germany and France.
The equipment developed by the Basque technological centre, with a cost above 100,000 Euros, was recently delivered to CIEMAT's headquarters in Madrid.
The increase in activity and new resources in radiotherapy and in fields such as biology means an increasing demand for the measurement of exposure levels. That is to say, the amount of radiation which patients can receive when in radiotherapy or x-ray diagnosis, or to professionals (researchers or medical staff) who work with this kind of instrumentation.
Exposure dose is a measure of ionisation produced in air by x-radiation, and the best instrument to measure it is an air ionization chamber. This is an instrument designed to detect radiation produced by ionization in a gas, in this instance air, and measure its effect. In this way, through complex calculations, the "air-kerma" can be determined (a value which expresses the radiation carried to a determined material) and from this, its effects on live tissue, on people.
The estimation of the dose absorbed by live tissue is the basis for radiotherapy treatment (widespread in the treatment of diseases such as cancer), while the estimation of environmental or personal dose is essential for the radiological protection of workers and the public in general.
With the primary standard developed by Tekniker-IK4 now in operation, the calibration of the measuring devices in medicine, or the radiation monitors for radiological protection in industry, will be considerably improved. Logically, not all instruments will be calibrated directly against the primary standard, but the fact that a greater number of secondary standards draw directly from the primary standard guarantees a higher quality of calibration.
The end objective of metrology, the discipline in which this technology is developed, is to attempt to ensure that all the units of measurement have the same value in time and place. Therefore, all measurement systems are distinguished by being traceable, that is to say, comparable to universal references or standards of the quantities they measure.
The world´s most precise barometer
The radiation standard is not the first piece of advanced scientific equipment that the Mechatronics and Precision Engineering Department of Tekniker-IK4 has developed for the Spanish Government. Last year it designed and manufactured for the Spanish Metrological Centre (CEM) the world´s most precise barometer that also became the absolute standard in Spain for pressure measurement.
Both developments are the result of more than two decades of collaboration with Tekniker IK-4. In fact, this has been the starting point of the Eibar technology centre's specialization in precision engineering and in the supply of scientific equipment, in which it is now a leader.
With almost 30 years of experience in the research of applied technology and in its transfer to the Basque industrial fabric, the Eibar based centre has reached a high level of specialization in four large areas (Mechatronics and Precision Engineering, Surface Engineering, Production Engineering, and Automation and Manufacturing Technologies) which allows it to place its cutting-edge technology at the service of those requiring it.
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