A group of researchers from the University of Turku in Finland discovered a new characteristic of the natural mineral Hakmanite, which turns out not only to change colour due to ultraviolet and X-ray radiation; the structure of the material in nuclear radiation changes and the level of exposure can be restored in the laboratory; this non-toxic material is suitable for the production of radiation detectors.
In their work, scientists investigated the effects of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation on hacmanite, for which material plates were placed at different distances and for different periods of time from the source of radiation, resulting in different doses of radiation.
The samples were then photographed and scientists examined their reflection spectra in order to obtain information about the depth of their colour and whether the colour was similar to those exposed, for example, to ultraviolet light and X-rays.
At the same time, researchers have noticed that hacmanite, painted with nuclear radiation, can return to its original color when white light is heated or affected, but the structure of the material retains a "memorial" of high-energy alpha- or gamma-radiation.
Defects left in the material become visible when the sample is repainted using UV-lamps and are explained by scientists. When observed by an unarmed eye, this is not visible, but spectrometry detects a small but distinct change in the shape of the signal.
Radioactive radiation surrounds us everywhere, notes scientists, for example, it can be encountered in many medical applications, nuclear, space and military industries, and the disruption of such devices can lead to dangerous consequences, and the use of non-toxic material as a detector will help prevent them.