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Division of Materials Engineering of Multidimensional Ionizing Radiation Detectors

The Division of Materials Engineering of Multidimensional Ionizing Radiation Detectors investigates molecular and supramolecular mechanisms of radiochromic response of human tissue-equivalent polymer gels and other innovative materials capable of detecting signatures of both the physical dose and linear energy transfer (LET).  A particular focus is on  those mechanisms of optical contrast in transmission laser tomography that allow for the separation of mixed radiation components characterized by different LET.  An example is Mie scattering on radiation-induced nano-clusters of polymers in gels.

The technology being developed here is expected to find applications primarily in radiation oncology, for example in individual patient-specific radiotherapy treatment plan and delivery verification, whether using photons, protons, ions or boron neutron capture (BNCT) therapy in which the capture of thermal neutrons by nuclei of boron-10 (pharmacologically concentrated within the nucleus of a cancer cell) generates a wide spectrum of radiation qualities including gamma photons, fast neutrons, protons, alpha particles and lithium-7 nuclei. The latter two components are characterized by very high biological effectiveness (associated with high LET values). Therefore, there is a need for a method of measurement that allows for high-definition imaging of 3D distributions (including organ motion and deformation) of each of those components in exposed human tissue-equivalent polymer gels. For, as Lord Kelvin noticed long ago, “what you can’t measure, you can’t improve”.

Other potential applications of the technology described above include multidimensional dosimetry in radiological protection in space travel, in nuclear energy industry, and in radiological defense.