Neti, P. V. S. V., de Toledo, S. M., Perumal, V., Azzam, E. I. and Howell, R. W. A Multi-port Low-Fluence Alpha-Particle Irradiator: Fabrication, Testing and Benchmark Radiobiological Studies. Radiat. Res. 161, 732–738 (2004).
A new multi-port irradiator, designed to facilitate the study of the effects of low fluences of α particles on monolayer cultures, has been developed. The irradiator consists of four individual planar 241Am α-particle sources that are housed inside a helium-filled Lucite chamber. Three of the radioactive sources consist of 20 MBq of 241Am dioxide foil. The fourth source, used to produce higher dose rates, has an activity of 500 MBq. The four sources are mounted on rotating turntables parallel to their respective 1.5-μm-thick Mylar exit windows. A stainless steel honeycomb collimator is placed between the four sources and their exit windows by a cantilever attachment to the platform of an orbital shaker that moves its table in an orbit of 2 cm. Each exit window is equipped with a beam delimiter to optimize the uniformity of the beam and with a high-precision electronic shutter. Opening and closing of the shutters is controlled with a high-precision timer. Custom-designed stainless steel Mylar-bottomed culture dishes are placed on an adapter on the shutter. The α particles that strike the cells have a mean energy of 2.9 MeV. The corresponding LET distribution of the particles has a mean value of 132 keV/μm. Clonogenic cell survival experiments with AG1522 human fibroblasts indicate that the RBE of the α particles compared to 137Cs γ rays is about 7.6 for this biological end point.