During the last 10 years, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) has emerged as a formidable competitor not only to thermoluminescence dosimetry (TLD) but also to several other dosimetry systems. Though a large number of materials have been synthesized and studied for OSL, Al(2)O(3):C continues to dominate the dosimetric applications. Re-investigations of OSL in BeOindicate that this material might provide an alternative to Al(2)O(3):C. Study of OSL of electronic components of mobile phones and ID cards appears to have opened up a feasibility of dosimetry and dose reconstruction using the electronic components of gadgets of everyday use in the events of unforeseen situations of radiological accidents, including the event of a dirty bomb by terrorist groups. Among the newly reported materials, a very recent development of NaMgF(3):Eu(2+) appears fascinating because of its high OSL sensitivity and tolerable tissue equivalence. In clinical dosimetry, an OSL as a passive dosimeter could do all that TLD can do, much faster with a better or at least the same efficiency; and in addition, it provides a possibility of repeated readout unlike TLD, in which all the dose information is lost in a single readout. Of late, OSL has also emerged as a practical real-time dosimeter for in vivo measurements in radiation therapy (for both external beams and brachytherapy) and in various diagnostic radiological examinations including mammography and CT dosimetry. For in vivo measurements, a probe of Al(2)O(3):C of size of a fraction of a millimeter provides the information on both the dose rate and the total dose from the readout of radioluminescence and OSL signals respectively, from the same probe. The availability of OSL dosimeters in various sizes and shapes and their performance characteristics as compared to established dosimeters such as plastic scintillation dosimeters, diode detectors, MOSFET detectors, radiochromic films, etc., shows that OSL may soon become the first choice for point dose measurements in clinical applications. A brief review of the recent developments is presented.
Keywords: Accident/space/clinical dosimetry; dosimeters; optically stimulated luminescence; real-time on-line measurements.