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Metrology of Ionizing Radiation in the Sub-micrometer Range: Biology meets Physics

02.07.2009

The 249th PTB seminar took place in Braunschweig from June 8 to 10, 2009. It had been organised jointly by PTB′s Department 6.6 "Fundamentals of Dosimetry", the Working Group SG 1.1 "Biological radiation effects, biological dosimetry" of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), and the EURADOS Working Group 6 "Computational Dosimetry". 12 staff members of PTB and 18 external participants - who represented 14 different institutions from eight European countries and the USA - attended the seminar.

The main intention of the seminar was to elaborate scientific issues which are suitable to be dealt with in joint research projects within the scope of the NanoCoRD network (Interdisciplinary Network for Advanced Nanodosimetry and Biology-based Concepts for Radiation Dosimetry) - which was launched last year - and to discuss the future development of the network as well as its extension to European partners.

In accordance with the interdisciplinary approach, the seminar was started with a detailed tutorial about radiation-biological methods, followed by lectures which gave a survey of the situation of "nanodosimetry" in relation to metrological objectives. In addition, applications in radiation therapy and radiation protection were dealt with.

In subsequent meetings, the progress made in the fields of Monte Carlo simulation for micro and nanodosimetry, experimental nanodosimetry and the development of microdosimetric detectors was reported and discussed. The highlight of the event was a contribution of the Italian Laboratori Nazionali die Legnaro, in which it was shown that - in contrast to photons - the microdosimetric ionization density distribution for hadrons depends only to a small extent on the dimensions of the target volume and that the common definition of the relative biological efficiency is, therefore, disadvantageous.

The scientific part was completed by a meeting which dealt with the interactions of low-energy electrons in matter. This meeting was followed by a plenary discussion on the emerging scientific challenges, on promotion possibilities for the considered research projects, and on the cooperation with other existing or developing networks.

As a result of this discussion, it was agreed to start a COST action for the complete network, and to present this initiative at upcoming conferences to include also other potential partners. In the network extended in this way and - hopefully - promoted by COST, project applications for multi-sectoral projects are to be prepared within the scope of the 7th framework programme or under the EMRP. In addition, it was determined to apply for the creation of a new EURADOS Working Group, "Fundamental Dosimetry“, and to get involved in the Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative (MELODI).