ICRP Publication 92 : Relative Biological Effectiveness (RBE), Quality Factor (Q), and Radiation Weighting Factor (wR)
The effect of ionising radiation is influenced by the dose, the dose rate, and the quality of the radiation. Before 1990, dose-equivalent quantities were defined in terms of a quality factor, Q(L), that was applied to the absorbed dose at a point in order to take into account the differences in the effects of different types of radiation. In its 1990 recommendations, the ICRP introduced a modified concept. For radiological protection purposes, the absorbed dose is averaged over an organ or tissue, T, and this absorbed dose average is weighted for the radiation quality in terms of the radiation weighting factor, wR, for the type and energy of radiation incident on the body. The resulting weighted dose is designated as the organ- or tissue-equivalent dose, HT. The sum of the organ-equivalent doses weighted by the ICRP organ-weighting factors, wT, is termed the effective dose, E. Measurements can be performed in terms of the operational quantities, ambient dose equivalent, and personal dose equivalent. These quantities continue to be defined in terms of the absorbed dose at the reference point weighted by Q(L).