High-dose femtosecond-scale gamma-ray beams for radiobiological applications

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Objective. In the irradiation of living tissue, the fundamental physical processes involved in radical production typically occur on a timescale of a few femtoseconds. A detailed understanding of these phenomena has thus far been limited by the relatively long duration of the radiation sources employed, extending well beyond the timescales for radical generation and evolution. Approach. Here, we propose a femtosecond-scale photon source, based on inverse Compton scattering of laser-plasma accelerated electron beams in the field of a second scattering laser pulse. Main results. Detailed numerical modelling indicates that existing laser facilities can provide ultra-short and high-flux MeV-scale photon beams, able to deposit doses tuneable from a fraction of Gy up to a few Gy per pulse, resulting in dose rates exceeding 1013 Gy/s. Significance. We envisage that such a source will represent a unique tool for time-resolved radiobiological experiments, with the prospect of further advancing radio-therapeutic techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Article number085010
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number8
Early online date09 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Creative Commons Attribution license.


  • Paper
  • inverse compton scattering
  • radiobiology
  • ultra-high dose-rate


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