Simple preparation of thin CR-39 detectors for alpha-particle radiobiological experiments

K. F. Chan, B. M.F. Lau, D. Nikezic, Anfernee K W Tse, W. F. Fong, K. N. Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Alpha-particle radiobiological experiments involve irradiating cells with alpha particles and require accurate positions where the alpha particles hit the cells. In the present work, we prepared thin CR-39 detectors from commercially available CR-39 SSNTDs with a thickness of 100 μm by etching them in 1 N NaOH/ethanol at 40 °C to below 20 μm. The desired final thickness was achieved within ∼8 h. Such etching conditions can provide relatively small roughness of the detector as revealed by atomic force microscope, and thus provide transparent detectors for radiobiological experiments. UV radiation was employed to shorten track formation time on these thin CR-39 detectors. After exposure to UV light (UVA + B radiation) for 2-3 h with doses from 259 to 389 W/cm2, 5 MeV alpha-particle tracks can be seen to develop on these CR-39 detectors clearly under the optical microscope within 2 h in 14 N KOH at 37 °C. As an example for practical use, custom-made petri dishes, with a hole drilled at the bottom and covered with a thin CR-39 detector, were used for culturing HeLa cells. The feasibility of using these thin CR-39 detectors is demonstrated by taking photographs of the cells and alpha-particle tracks together under the optical microscope, which can allow the hit positions on the cells by the alpha particles to be determined accurately.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-293
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation

User-Defined Keywords

  • CR-39
  • Radiobiology
  • Solid-state nuclear track detector


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