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Interaction: Charged Particles

Michael Ljungberg

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  1


 Heavy charged particles (mass > e-)

• p, -particles heavy ions (Z>2)

 Light charged particles e+, e-

• Easy to accelerate to high energy and velocities close to speed-of-light

• Dominated type of interaction for charged particles is the electromagnetic

(Coloumb interaction). Energy degraded and direction changed for a light
particle (electron).

 Atoms along the track will be ionized and excitated.

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  2
1. Inelastic collision with atomic electron

 Dominating interaction type

• Ionizations and excitation due to loss of kinetic energy.

• This type results in the largest energy losses

Ionpair +
liberated e-

=> track of ionizations and excitations in the material. Randomly


Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  3


Ionizations Ionization cluster


Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  4
2. Inelastic collisions with a nucleus.

 Close to the nucleus => deflection by the strong Coloumb field.

Bremsstraalung losses by photon radiation


0 < hv < Ee

Important for electrons.

Less important for heavy particles
Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  5

3. Elastic collisions with a nucleus

 Deflection without radiation loss and nucleus excitation

 Loss of kinetic energy by incoming particle is small (keeping the

system momentum constant)

 Elastic scattering

 Mostly electrons e-

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  6
4. Elastic collisions with atomic e-

 Charged particle interact with an energy loss less than the lowest
excitation potential by the atom (interaction with the whole atom)

 Important for Ee < 100 eV

For electrons - all four types of interaction processes can occur

but for heavy charged particles the most important are the
inelastic collision with atomic e- (1)

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  7

Maximum Energy transfer

(inelastic collision with atomic e-)

 Consider an impact between an -particle with the mass M and

energy E and a electron with the mass m.

M,, E , v M,, E´ , v´

Before After

Maximal energy transfer Qo will be 2mv2, where v is  -particle

velocity me
Qo  2mv 2  4   E
Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  8
Maximal energy transfer
(inelastic collision by atomic e-)

 For a 5 MeV -particle Qo equals 2.5 keV

 This means that the -particle loose its energy in small proportions
that is undergoes many collisions before coming to rest.

Well-defined range with a small statistical deviation

between different -particles of the same energy

 For an electron a collision between two particles of the same mass

yields that the whole kinetic energy can be transferred. Large energy
depositions is more likely.

Less well-defined range.

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  9

Total Linear Stopping Power

 dE 
 Total Linear Stopping Power S  
 dx tot

dE is the energy that a particle on the average loose when it passes a

range dx in a material.

 Characterize the materials ability to slow-down and stop the particle.

 dE includes all types of energy losses. Often separated into

• Collision loss
 dE   dE   dE 
• Radiative loss      
 dx tot  dx col  dx  rad

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  10
Collision Stopping Power

 Classical theory leads to  dE  z2

   Z
 col
dx v

The energy loss is

• proportional to square of particle charge (z2)…

• inverse proportional to the square of the velocity of the particle (1/v2)…
• proportional to the atomic number of the material (Z)

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  11

Bethe-Blochs quantum mechanical expression

1  dE  NA  Z z 2e4  Q C 
     ln max  ln 1   2    2   
  dx Col A 4 02 m0 v 2  I Z 2

NA = Avogadros number
Z= atomic number for the attenuator
A= mol weight for the attenuator
z= Charge of the incoming particle
m0 = Rest mass for the electron
v= Velocity of the incoming particle
I= The average ionization potential
Qmax = Maximal transferred energy at a single collision
C= Shell correction
= Polarization effect
= Incoming particle relative velocity (=v/c)

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  12
Components in Bethe-Bloch formula

 Average ionization potential

• The energy on the average that is transferred to a bounded electron.
Experimental averaged value determined to

I ~13.5 eV

The stopping-power is proportional to the log of I and therefore varies

slowly with I.

 Shell correction
• All electrons are not part of the interaction
• Electrons contribute less to the stopping-power if the velocity of the
incoming particle is in the same order as the velocity of the electrons in the
• The parts in the equation that depend on  has a small impact if v<c

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  13

Components in Bethe-Bloch formula

 The density effect

• Stopping power theory based on the independence of atoms.
• Correction needed for dense materials.
• For atoms close to each others the electrical field between the particle and
the shell electron will be affected by the field from the other atoms.
* * * * *
- - - - -
i. The field reduction + + + + +
* * * * *
ii. reduce the particles energy loss - - - - -

- - - - -
* * * * *
+ + + + +
- - - - -
* * * * *

• The density effect increase with energy of the particle. The correction /z
reduce the stopping-power of the particle

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  14
Components in Bethe-Bloch formula

Log(S/) Relativistic
z2 effects
 ln(1-2)

Log Ekin
1. A low energies S decreases (the effective charge decrease)
2. The decrease above the Bragg-peak is due to 1/v2 dependence
3. The decrease continues -  plays a role.
4. S increase at high relativistic energies due to the term ln(1- 2)

* Shell correction important for high-Z materials

* Due to  the S is reduced at high energies.

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  15

Bragg curve for alpha particles

Ionizations per unit

of length (Mev/cm)

Range (cm)
Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  16
Energy Straggling

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  17

Collision Stopping-Power vs. velocity

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  18
Stopping-Power vs. energy

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  19

The components of the Bethe-Bloch formula

 Two important differences between electrons and heavy charged


• e- can delived the whole energy at a collision (Qmax)

• Ee > few 100 keV result in relativistic effects.

 Mass-Stopping Power S/ about the same for all materials

 dE  1
 At low energies    2
 dx col v

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  20
Restricted Stopping-Power

 dE/dx include all energy losses along the path dx. A measure of the
energy absorbed locally along the track is the

restricted stopping-power  dE 
 
 is a energy threshold
 dx 

 Also denoted LET (Linear Energy Transfer), L

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  21

Restricted Linear Collision Stopping Power

 Restricted Linear Collision Stopping Power

• Defined as the energy transfer per unit length
that is caused by collision at where energy losses is less than  eV

 dE 
 
 dx col ,

 This means that:

• -particles with higher energy than ∆ is counted as new particles.

• Secondary e- have so high energy and large range so that the cannot be
regarded as locally absorbed.

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  22
RCSDA – range definition

Eo 1
 dE 
 Definition of RCSDA
Rcsda    dE
0  

 CSDA = Continuous Slowing-Down Approximation

 Range representing the path length for a particle a an energy

loss of Eo if the energy loss per unit of length is the same as the
energy loss defined by the stopping-power value.

 Differences in the ranges caused by statistical changes

(straggling) is low for  and protons)

Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  23

Range its relationsrelationer

S: Track length is the length of the S

real path of the particle

R: Range of the particle in the media


0.5 Rmax

Rm Sm
Ro So
Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  24
Path lengths

 R = average projected path length

• Thickness of an absorber that absorb 50% of perpendicular incoming

 S = averaged path length

• Average path length for the particles. R and S about the same for heavy
charged particles but for light particles (electrons) a difference of up to 2
can be seen.

 Ro = extrapolated projected path length

• represents the thickness determined by an extrapolation of the range curve.

 So= extrapolated path length

• Represents the path length determined by extrapolation of the S curve in a
similar way.
Michael Ljungberg/Medical Radiation Physics/Clinical Sciences Lund/Lund University/Sweden                                  25