This paper reports on the development and testing of a direct reading radon detector assembled from consumer electronics at very low cost. An electrostatic concentrator constructed by metalizing a plastic funnel is used to focus charged radon progeny onto the exposed surface of an optical image sensor from a webcam. Alpha particles emitted by the collected progeny strike the image sensor, generating suficient charge to completely saturate one or more pixels The high voltage required by the concentrator is generated using a simple Cockcroft-Walton charge pump. A personal computer is used to analyze the webcam data. Alpha particles were counted at a rate of 5.2 counts/hour at a radon concentration of 159 Bq/m3.

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Keywords CMOS, Direct reading, Electrostatic concentration, Image sensor, Passive, Radon monitor, Webcam
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Conference Photonics North 2013 Conference
Grifin, R.H. (Ryan H.), & Tarr, N.G. (2013). Optical image sensors and their application in radon detection. Presented at the Photonics North 2013 Conference. doi:10.1117/12.2033635