Replacement iPhone screen giving off ionizing radiation

I’ve purchased a few replacement screens for my iphone. I’m somewhat of a pro replacing them now. I also own a geiger counter. While using the geiger counter i accidently noticed that my iphone was giving off radiation. The counter detects alpha thru x-ray. I’ve narrowed it down to possibly alpha or beta particles. It doesn’t detect radiation from the back thru metal plate. Just now removed the screen and its definitely the culprit. Anyone have a clue why? I can find nothing about this on the web.

Can anyone verify this? Screens were all from chinese manufacturers.

P.S. Original screens show no radiation emissions. Tested all of my relatives iphones with original screens.

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That’s interesting!

When you test the screen, is it “on” or does it give radiation when it’s off or disconnected?


Shows when on or off. around 400-500 cpm


An old school friend of mine, a professor at Southampton University says:

"How are you detecting alpha with a Geiger tube? That requires a specialist thin window tube, do you have that?

What happens if you move it back day 50mm?

Place a sheet of paper in between?

A piece of aluminium foil?

It’s just possible they have used a Thorium compound in an optical coating (fluoride or oxyfluoride) but they have largely been phased out.

If it’s real, it’s probably the 4.08MeV alpha from Th232

Slowly over some years Ra228 will build up with a beta - decay.

There have been incidents of older camera lenses setting off radiation alarms.

At this level the alpha is pretty harmless.

I’d need to know more about his counter and do some suns to figure out if the level is realistic."


I have a pan detector on my geiger counter. Im aware of the thorium use in the past. Not worried about the radiation, just thought it was odd.


I do however really appreciate a professionals input greatly. I thought it might thorium in the glass, but also read it was banned a while back.


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My professor friend says:

I did the sum, roughly.

It [the optical coating] will be of order quarter wavelength of light divided by refractive index thick, about 100nm.

For a screen ~6 by 12cm and assuming ThF4 I get a total disintegration rate of around 1200/minute.

Half go back into the screen, leaving ~~600/minute ‘forward’.

Given that his detection capture efficiency would be expected to be much less than one, his reported rate seems rather too high, but we are somewhere in the same neck of the woods.

Thorium was eliminated for two reasons.

Firstly a perception from users of danger, which wasn’t really real.

But there were issues in manufacture from dust in particular that could be inhaled when deposition chambers were cleaned.

It was replaced by things like HfF4 and YF3.

I’d guess it is a thorium containing coating. He should not be concerned about that. But the operatives making it in some Chinese factory should be.

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I had read about the thorium use in some screens in the past. Not worried about the radiation, just thought it to be unusual.


Thanks again for all the responses. Was just curious that there was no history of alpha or beta decay from thorium laced screens before.


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Ok i’m not an expert but the only radiation from a phone would be RF? Electrons are Beta but you wouldn’t be losing them unless you where burning the battery out from 100% to 0% in seconds the only other radiation from LED would be light while some believe this can be an issue i do think its still up for debate.

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Got a lot of responses. Great input. Was just trying to bring attention to this. I know that the radiation is of no real danger. It was just a mystery to me since i could find no mention of it on the Internet. Thanks again.

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