Gaillard, S., Armbruster, V., Hill, M. A., Gharbi, T. and Fromm, M. Production and Validation of CR-39-Based Dishes for α-Particle Radiobiological Experiments. Radiat. Res. 163, 343–350 (2005).

The study of radiobiological effects induced in vitro by low fluences of α particles would be significantly enhanced if the precise localization of each particle track in the cell monolayer was known. From this perspective, we developed a new method based on tailor-made UV-radiation-cured CR-39, the production of which is described. Its validation both as a petri dish and as solid-state nuclear track detectors is demonstrated. With respect to the demands on solid-state nuclear track detectors in such experiments, these biologically compatible detectors have a controlled micrometric thickness that allows them to be crossed by the α particles. In this study, we present a method for obtaining 10-μm-thick CR-39, its chemical characterization, and its properties as a solid-state nuclear track detector under the environmental conditions of radiobiological experiments. The experimental studies performed with 3.5 MeV α particles show that their transmitted energy is sufficient enough to cross the entire cellular volume. Under optimal conditions, etched tracks are clearly defined 2 h after etching. Moreover, the UV-radiation-cured CR-39 represents an essentially zero background that is due to the short time between the production and use of the polymer. Under a confocal microscope, this thin solid-state nuclear track detector allows the precise localization of the impact parameter at the subcellular level.