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AEC Chambers

Vanessa Lumpuy RTE1418

device or the use of ionization chambers.

Function: Eliminate

AEC Chambers
the need for the radiographer to set an exposure time. stop the exposure when the image receptor has received the necessary radiation intensity.


AEC Chambers

Ionization Chambers - an automatic exposure control device used to terminate the exposure after a desired exposure has been reached. Automatic exposure devices provide diagnostic quality exposures only for structures positioned directly above the ionization chambers. The art of using AECs is the art of positioning. Ionization chamber AECs are usually used in a three-chamber configuration.


The radiographer loses control over time when using an AEC.


and kVp must be set manually.


is important that the location of the ionization chamber be determined and the precise positioning of tissue over that location be achieved.

Positioning Skills

Good positioning the majority of AEC exposures will produce diagnostic quality results. Poor positioning an increased repeat rate when using AECs.


AEC consoles permit various combinations of the ionization chambers to be activated in order to control the exposure. Combinations:

different combinations of the 3 chambers.

Chest X-ray : right and left chambers are placed away from the mediastinum and completely within the lobes of the lungs.


Density Controls

AEC systems permit the adjustment of the amount of radiation necessary to send the exposure termination signal.

Controls regulate the IR exposure but have different labels depending on manufacturer:

-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 , , N, 1 , 1

Most labels use the center control as the normal density (0 and N) and permit both increases and decreases. Some units use single density control and others

Density Controls

The density controls should not be used to compensate for patient part thickness or kVp changes. Density control is accomplished when the configuration of the ionization chamber cells cannot be adapted to the necessary positioning.

Example: When an image is slightly overexposed for the lung field and a decrease in exposure is desired even though the patient and ionization

AEC Problems

Density and Contrast:


an unexpected density is present or when an expected density is lacking.


fluid in lungs causes increased subject density and contrast, which causes the AEC to remain on longer, making an aerated lung overexposed for

AEC Problems


Reaction Time: the length of time necessary for the AEC to respond to the radiation and for the generator to terminate the exposure. Time: backup times cannot exceed the tube limit and should be set at 150% of the anticipated manual exposure time.


When the backup time is too short, it will terminate the

Work Cited

of Radiographic Imaging 4th Edition: Richard R. Carlton and Arlene M. Adler. Science for Technologists: Physics Bushong, Stewart C.