‘Smart Ion’ radiation detector

Made by Mini Instruments Ltd in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, England, United Kingdom, Europe, 2000-2005.

This micro-computer based instrument can detect beta or gamma radiation and X-rays. Made by Mini-Instruments in England between 2000 and 2005, it was designed to warn workers about short-term radiation exposure and to gather data about their long-term exposure. While high-energy radiation has been very useful in science and medicine, the dangers it poses to human health have been known since early researchers Wilhelm Roentgen, Marie Curie and Henri Becquerel all suffered from its effects.



Object No.


Physical Description

Radiation detector, 'Smart ION', battery operated, electronic components / plastic / metal, made by Mini -Instruments Ltd, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, England, 2000-2005

This detector is a white plastic unit with a black handle mounted to the front. The front of the detector has a readout screen and white buttons on a blue background. The back of the unit has a round metal disk on a sliding mechanism that slides down to reveal another round metal disk that detects beta radiation.



230 mm


105 mm


185 mm


1.4 kg



Radiation detector made by Mini Instruments Inc in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, England, between 2000-2005

The Smart Ion is a micro computer based instrument of advanced design for the measurement of gamma, beta and x-ray radiation. It provides functions previously not available in meters of this type, including data logging, dose rate alarm, remote calibration and security features. Operation is simple, reliable and maintenance free, and the instrument is housed in a robust plastic case of attractive appearance.

The meter employs an ion chamber for detecting gamma radiation and beta particles. A potential applied between a central electrode and the chamber wall attracts the positive and negative parts of the ionised particle. The resulting current flow generates a voltage that is detected and amplified to give an indication of radiation intensity. The meter always measures gamma radiation that penetrates the case from any angle. Beta radiation however is subject to considerable attenuation through the case. Beta radiation is measured through the thin window in the base of the meter. A shield can be slid across this window to exclude beta particles; while this cover is closed, the meter is only sensitive to gamma radiation.


Mini Instruments Ltd 2000-2005


Credit Line

Gift of the Department of Environment and Conservation New South Wales, 2007

Acquisition Date

5 June, 2007

Cite this Object


'Smart Ion' radiation detector 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 January 2018, <https://ma.as/365864>


{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/365864 |title='Smart Ion' radiation detector |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 January 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Store 4 at the Museums Discovery Centre.

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