Available student project - Auger electrons and X-rays from nuclear decay for medical isotopes

Research fields

  • Engineering in Physics
  • Physics of the Nucleus
Vacancy creation by (a) nuclear decay followed by atomic relaxation processes (b) X-ray and (c) Auger electron emission.

Project details

Following nuclear decay involving electron capture and/or internal conversion the daughter atom will be ionised resulting the emission of a cascade of X-rays and Auger electrons. This project aims to develop a new model of this process as required for basic science and applications, including cancer treatment.

The extreme radiotoxicity of Auger electrons has long been considered ideal for targeted cancer treatment. Recent progress in biochemistry makes subcellular targeting of cancer a reality. On the other hand, current physical models cannot predict the full Auger electron spectrum down to eV energies, which are most important for DNA strand breaks.

A new physical model has been developed recently at the ANU, which able to calculate the full energy spectrum. However due to the complexity of the problem calculations are very CPU intensive. This project aims to develop an efficient computational tool to provide radiation input data for a variety of dosimetry simulations.

In the first phase of the current project we aim to improve the prediction of atomic transition energies, particularly for K-shell X-rays and Auger electrons. In the second phase of the project, large scale calculations will be performed to cover presently used and potential medical isotopes to build a data base of atomic radiation spectra. This data base will then allow the newly calculated atomic spectra to be used quickly and effectively (i.e. without CPU intensive computation) for a very wide range of applications, including GEANT4-DNA.

Required background

Good understanding of atomic and nuclear structure. Programming in Fortran, C++ and Python is an advantage.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • 3rd year special project
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Kibedi, Tibor profile

Other supervisor(s)

Stuchbery, Andrew profile

Tee Pi-Ern, Bryan profile

Updated:  1 August 2021/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster