Radiation Converter

Created by Hanna Pamuła, PhD
Reviewed by Małgorzata Koperska, MD and Adena Benn
Last updated: Oct 11, 2022

The radiation converter is a simple tool to convert the radiation units - of absorbed dose and equivalent/effective dose. For the absorbed dose, you can choose between popular units, such as mGy and rads. In the conversion of equivalent dose, you can select standard mSv or rems but also BEDs - banana equivalent dose, which is an informal measure of ionizing radiation exposure. If you are interested in radiation topics, check out our other calculators:

Absorbed dose units

Absorbed dose is the energy deposited in any material by ionizing radiation. The basic unit is gray (Gy), which is equal to joules per kilogram. Other absorbed dose radiation units to which you can convert thanks to our radiation converter are:

  • Microgray;
  • Milligray;
  • Centigray; and
  • Rad (CGS unit)

The absorbed dose measure is often used in radiation protection, dosimetry, and radiology.

Equivalent dose units

The equivalent dose is the measure derived from an absorbed dose. It takes into account biological effectiveness according to radiation energy and its type:

HT = ∑ WR * DT,R

  • HT - the equivalent dose in sieverts (Sv) absorbed by tissue T
  • DT,R - the absorbed dose in grays (Gy) in tissue T by radiation type R
  • WR -the radiation weighting factor, representing the relative biological effectiveness

Radiation weighting factors

Radiation

WR - radiation weighting factor

x-rays, gamma rays, beta particles, muons

1

neutrons

< 1 MeV 

2.5 + 18.2·e−[ln(E)]²/6

1 MeV - 50 MeV

5.0 + 17.0·e−[ln(2·E)]²/6

50 MeV

2.5 + 3.25·e−[ln(0.04·E)]²/6

protons, charged pions

2

α particles, nuclear fission products, heavy nuclei

20

Based on The 2007 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP Publication 103

The equivalent dose basic unit is sievert, and in the radiation converter, you can change that unit into:

  • Microsievert;
  • Millisievert;
  • Millirem;
  • Rem; and
  • Banana equivalent dose.

Effective dose units

The effective dose is a tissue-weighted sum of equivalent doses in all specified tissues and organs of the human body:

E = ∑ WT × HT

  • E - effective dose to the entire organism; and
  • WT - the tissue weighting factor.

In other words, the effective dose shows the sensitivity of different tissues to radiation - for the colon or lung, the effective dose will be higher than the equivalent dose for the brain or salivary glands.
The units are the same as in the equivalent dose because we are multiplying that measure by the dimensionless weighting factor.

Weighting factors for different tissues:

Organs

Tissue weighting factors

Colon

0.19

Lung

0.16

Red Bone Marrow

0.13

Stomach

0.12

Breasts

0.12

Gonads

0.08

Bladder

0.04

Liver

0.04

Esophagus

0.04

Thyroid

0.04

Skin

0.01

Bone surface

0.01

Salivary glands

0.01

Brain

0.01

Remainder of the body

0.12

Total

1.00

Based on The 2007 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, ICRP Publication 103

How to use radiation converter to change between radiation units?

  1. Check which part of the converter you need. Let's assume you want to convert the effective dose, so choose the bottom part.
  2. Enter your given value into a proper box. For example, let's take the effective dose of a chest X-ray which is 0.1 mSv.
  3. The calculator displays the value in two other units. Now you know that 0.1 mSv is equal to 100 µSv and 0.01 rem. Remember that you can select different units from the drop-down list!

If you are interested in other radiation calculators, be sure to check out our radiation pressure calculator.

Hanna Pamuła, PhD
Absorbed dose
mGy
Gy
rad
Equivalent / effective dose
µSv
mSv
rem
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