Cucinotta, F. A., Nikjoo, H. and Goodhead, D. T. Model for Radial Dependence of Frequency Distributions for Energy Imparted in Nanometer Volumes from HZE Particles.
This paper develops a deterministic model of frequency distributions for energy imparted (total energy deposition) in small volumes similar to DNA molecules from high-energy ions of interest for space radiation protection and cancer therapy. Frequency distributions for energy imparted are useful for considering radiation quality and for modeling biological damage produced by ionizing radiation. For high-energy ions, secondary electron (δ-ray) tracks originating from a primary ion track make dominant contributions to energy deposition events in small volumes. Our method uses the distribution of electrons produced about an ion's path and incorporates results from Monte Carlo simulation of electron tracks to predict frequency distributions for ions, including their dependence on radial distance. The contribution from primary ion events is treated using an impact parameter formalism of spatially restricted linear energy transfer (LET) and energy-transfer straggling. We validate our model by comparing it directly to results from Monte Carlo simulations for proton and α-particle tracks. We show for the first time frequency distributions of energy imparted in DNA structures by several high-energy ions such as cosmic-ray iron ions. Our comparison with results from Monte Carlo simulations at low energies indicates the accuracy of the method.