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Radiation Protection Glossary

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Electron volt
The electron volt
The electron volt (eV) is a unit used in Radiation Protection / Health Physics to describe the energy of Ionising Radiation . The value of the eV is derived from the energy required to accelerate an electron through a potential of 1 volt. In more familiar units the eV is approximately equivalent to 1.6 E-19 joules. In everyday use the units of KeV (or MeV) are used as the eV is obviously an extremely small quantity. In training we often say the eV represents the 'punch' that the ionising radiation has to do work (damage) and so can be related to hazard potential.