Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Gamma ray


Understanding radiation responses of Fe-based metals is essential to develop radiation tolerant steels for longer and safer life cycles in harsh reactor environments. Nanograined metals have been explored as self-healing materials due to point-defect recombination at grain boundaries. The fundamental defect-boundary interactions, however, are not yet well understood. We discover that the interactions are always mediated by formation and annealing of chain-like defects, which consist of alternately positioned interstitials and vacancies. These chain-like defects are closely correlated to the patterns of defect formation energy minima on the grain boundary, which depend on specific boundary configurations. Through chain-like defects, a point defect effectively translates large distances, to annihilate with its opposite, thus grain boundaries act as highly efficient defect sinks that cannot saturate under extreme radiation conditions.

Concepts: Electron, Materials science, Metallurgy, Steel, Crystallographic defect, Gamma ray


World events over the past decade have highlighted the threat of nuclear terrorism as well as an urgent need to develop radiation countermeasures for acute radiation exposures and subsequent bodily injuries. An increased probability of radiological or nuclear incidents due to detonation of nuclear weapons by terrorists, sabotage of nuclear facilities, dispersal and exposure to radioactive materials, and accidents provides the basis for such enhanced radiation exposure risks for civilian populations. Although the search for suitable radiation countermeasures for radiation-associated injuries was initiated more than half a century ago, no safe and effective radiation countermeasure for the most severe of these injuries, namely acute radiation syndrome (ARS), has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The dearth of FDA-approved radiation countermeasures has prompted intensified research for a new generation of radiation countermeasures. In this communication, the authors have listed and reviewed the status of radiation countermeasures that are currently available for use, or those that might be used for exceptional nuclear/radiological contingencies, plus a limited few medicines that show early promise but still remain experimental in nature and unauthorized for human use by the FDA.

Concepts: Chernobyl disaster, Radioactive decay, Radiation, Nuclear weapon, Gamma ray, Radiation poisoning, Nuclear fallout, Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents


Radioactive isotopes originating from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 were found in resident marine animals and in migratory Pacific bluefin tuna (PBFT). Publication of this information resulted in a worldwide response that caused public anxiety and concern, although PBFT captured off California in August 2011 contained activity concentrations below those from naturally occurring radionuclides. To link the radioactivity to possible health impairments, we calculated doses, attributable to the Fukushima-derived and the naturally occurring radionuclides, to both the marine biota and human fish consumers. We showed that doses in all cases were dominated by the naturally occurring alpha-emitter (210)Po and that Fukushima-derived doses were three to four orders of magnitude below (210)Po-derived doses. Doses to marine biota were about two orders of magnitude below the lowest benchmark protection level proposed for ecosystems (10 µGy⋅h(-1)). The additional dose from Fukushima radionuclides to humans consuming tainted PBFT in the United States was calculated to be 0.9 and 4.7 µSv for average consumers and subsistence fishermen, respectively. Such doses are comparable to, or less than, the dose all humans routinely obtain from naturally occurring radionuclides in many food items, medical treatments, air travel, or other background sources. Although uncertainties remain regarding the assessment of cancer risk at low doses of ionizing radiation to humans, the dose received from PBFT consumption by subsistence fishermen can be estimated to result in two additional fatal cancer cases per 10,000,000 similarly exposed people.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Radioactive decay, Gamma ray, Radiation poisoning, Radioactive contamination, Radioactivity, Radionuclide, Tuna


In dynamic renal scintigraphy, the main interest is the radiopharmaceutical redistribution as a function of time. Quality control (QC) of renal procedures often relies on phantom experiments to compare image-based results with the measurement setup. A phantom with a realistic anatomy and time-varying activity distribution is therefore desirable. This work describes a pharmacokinetic (PK) compartment model for (99m)Tc-MAG3, used for defining a dynamic whole-body activity distribution within a digital phantom (XCAT) for accurate Monte Carlo (MC)-based images for QC. Each phantom structure is assigned a time-activity curve provided by the PK model, employing parameter values consistent with MAG3 pharmacokinetics. This approach ensures that the total amount of tracer in the phantom is preserved between time points, and it allows for modifications of the pharmacokinetics in a controlled fashion. By adjusting parameter values in the PK model, different clinically realistic scenarios can be mimicked, regarding, e.g., the relative renal uptake and renal transit time. Using the MC code SIMIND, a complete set of renography images including effects of photon attenuation, scattering, limited spatial resolution and noise, are simulated. The obtained image data can be used to evaluate quantitative techniques and computer software in clinical renography.

Concepts: Computer graphics, Distribution, Monte Carlo, Pharmacokinetics, Gamma ray, Monaco, Compartment, Multi-compartment model


A single step immobilization-polymerization strategy of a highly active antimicrobial peptide into a soft hydrogel network on a PET surface using thiol-ene chemistry is described. The bactericidal hydrogel was molecularly characterized by coomassie and Lowry assay protein staining agents as well as by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The bactericidal activity was established against S. aureus and S. epidermidis, two bacterial strains commonly associated with biomaterial infections. To gain further insight into the biological stability, the hydrogels were incubated with human serum prior to activity testing without loss of activity. These studies revealed a promising, bactericidal hydrogel with good stability under physiological conditions.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, X-ray, Biology, Staphylococcus aureus, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Gamma ray, Lowry protein assay


A 6- to 7-MeV high-energy gamma-ray field, produced by the nuclear reaction of (19)F(p, αγ)(16)O, has been established at the Facility of Radiation Standards (FRS) in Japan Atomic Energy Agency for calibration purposes. Basic dosimetric quantities (i.e. averaged gamma-ray energy, air-kerma-to-dose equivalent conversion coefficients and air kerma rates at the point of test) have been precisely determined through a series of measurements using the NaI(Tl) spectrometer and an ionisation chamber coupled with an appropriate build-up material. The measurements obtained comply with values recommended by the International Organization for Standardization for an ‘R-F field’. The neutron contamination component for the field has also been measured by means of a conventional neutron dose equivalent meter (the so-called neutron rem-counter) and determined to be ∼0.5 % of the total dose equivalent.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Metrology, Nuclear fission, Test method, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear weapon, Gamma ray, Van de Graaff generator


The antimicrobial activity of Mul-1867, a novel synthetic compound, was tested against 18 bacterial strains, including clinical isolates and reference strains from culture collections.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Gamma ray


In the field of nuclear medicine, single photon emission tomography and positron emission tomography are the two most common techniques in molecular imaging, but the available radioactive tracers have been limited either by energy range or difficulties in production and delivery. Thus, the use of a Compton camera, which features gamma-ray imaging of arbitrary energies from a few hundred keV to more than MeV, is eagerly awaited along with potential new tracers which have never been used in current modalities. In this paper, we developed an ultra-compact Compton camera that weighs only 580 g. The camera consists of fine-pixelized Ce-doped Gd3Al2Ga3O12 scintillators coupled with multi-pixel photon counter arrays. We first investigated the 3-D imaging capability of our camera system for a diffuse source of a planar geometry, and then conducted small animal imaging as pre-clinical evaluation. For the first time, we successfully carried out the 3-D color imaging of a live mouse in just 2 h. By using tri-color gamma-ray fusion images, we confirmed that (131)I, (85)Sr, and (65)Zn can be new tracers that concentrate in each target organ.

Concepts: Electron, Photon, Energy, Medical imaging, Positron emission tomography, Positron, Single photon emission computed tomography, Gamma ray


We have developed an Electron Tracking Compton Camera (ETCC), which provides a well-defined Point Spread Function (PSF) by reconstructing a direction of each gamma as a point and realizes simultaneous measurement of brightness and spectrum of MeV gamma-rays for the first time. Here, we present the results of our on-site pilot gamma-imaging-spectroscopy with ETCC at three contaminated locations in the vicinity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants in Japan in 2014. The obtained distribution of brightness (or emissivity) with remote-sensing observations is unambiguously converted into the dose distribution. We confirm that the dose distribution is consistent with the one taken by conventional mapping measurements with a dosimeter physically placed at each grid point. Furthermore, its imaging spectroscopy, boosted by Compton-edge-free spectra, reveals complex radioactive features in a quantitative manner around each individual target point in the background-dominated environment. Notably, we successfully identify a “micro hot spot” of residual caesium contamination even in an already decontaminated area. These results show that the ETCC performs exactly as the geometrical optics predicts, demonstrates its versatility in the field radiation measurement, and reveals potentials for application in many fields, including the nuclear industry, medical field, and astronomy.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Nuclear physics, Chernobyl disaster, Radioactive decay, Nuclear fission, Nuclear power, Gamma ray, Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents


The present study was carried out to evaluate Cs-137 activity concentration in soil, water, vegetation, and cow’s milk at 10 locations within three regions (Abai, Ayaguz, and Urdzhar) to the southeast of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (SNTS) in Kazakhstan. Cs-137 activity concentrations, determined using a pure Ge gamma-ray spectrometer, showed that, all samples collected did not exceed the National maximum allowable limits of 10,000 Bq/kg for soil, 100 Bq/kg for cow’s milk, 74 Bq/kg for vegetation, and 11 Bq/kg for water. Cs-137 is, therefore, not considered a health hazard in these regions. The highest levels of contamination were found in the Abai region, where the highest activity concentration of Cs-137 was 18.0 ± 1.0 Bq/kg in soil, 7.60 ± 0.31 Bq/kg in cow’s milk, 4.00 ± 0.14 Bq/kg in the vegetation, and 3.00 ± 0.24 Bq/kg in water. The lowest levels were measured within the Urdzhar region, where 4.00 ± 0.14 Bq/kg was found in the soil, 0.30 ± 0.02 Bq/kg in the cow’s milk, 1.00 ± 0.03 Bq/kg in the vegetation, and 0.20 ± 0.02 Bq/kg in the water.

Concepts: Milk, Chemical equilibrium, Gamma ray, Russia, Soviet Union, Radioactive contamination, Kazakhstan, Post-Soviet states