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Radiat Res. 2002 Oct;158(4):493-504.

On (3)H beta-particle and (60)Co gamma irradiation of aqueous systems.

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Department of Chemistry, King's College London, United Kingdom.


The chemistry of water and aqueous solutions is very different after irradiation with (3)H beta particles and high-energy electrons or (60)Co gamma rays. The greater the linear energy transfer (LET) of the medium for (3)H beta particles compared to high-energy electrons or (60)Co gamma rays leads to an increased local concentration of reactants. There is an increased amount of intratrack chemistry, which reduces the escape yield of and OH by about 50%, but increases the yield of H(2) by about 50% and of H(2)O(2) by about 35%. Analysis of stochastic-diffusion kinetic calculations employing simulated track structures reveals that the yield of H(2) produced by diffusion-kinetic processes increases significantly for (3)H beta particles compared to (60)Co gamma radiation, while production of H(2) by sub-picosecond processes is essentially the same. In both (3)H beta-particle and (60)Co gamma radiolysis, the reactions + and are equally important in the production of H(2). In the former case, each reaction has a yield of approximately 0.18, and in the latter a yield of approximately 0.08. In neutral water, the reaction (H + H) is negligible. The yield of Fe(III) in (3)H beta-particle radiolysis of the Fricke dosimeter is much smaller than in radiolysis with more energetic electrons. Simulations show that this change is primarily due to the reduced escape yield of H, formed from the scavenging of by the bulk H(3)O(+) of the acid. The chemical differences observed in experiments, and in calculations, reflect the underlying structure of the electron tracks: Examination of the track structure simulations demonstrates that primary events are considerably more well-separated in high-energy electron tracks compared to (3)H beta-particle tracks.

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