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The biological effect of radiation is not directly proportional to the energy deposited by radiation in an organism. It depends, in addition, on the way in which the energy is deposited along the path of the radiation, and this in turn depends on the type of radiation and its energy. Thus the biological effect of the radiation increases with the linear energy transfer (LET) defined as the mean energy deposited per unit path length in the absorbing material (units keV μm−1). Thus for the same absorbed dose, the biological effect from high LET radiation such as α particles or neutrons is much greater than that from low LET radiation such as β or γ rays.

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