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State of the art in nail dosimetry: free radicals identification and reaction mechanisms

​​Radiation and Environmental Biophysics / Volume 53, issue 2, pages 291-303, May 2014

Document type > *Article de revue

Keywords >

Research Unit > IRSN/PRP-HOM/SDE/LDRI

Authors > TROMPIER François, ROMANYUKHA Alexander A., REYES R., VEZIN Hervé, QUEINNEC François

Publication Date > 01/05/2014

Summary

​Until very recently, analysis of bone biopsies by means of the method of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) collected after surgery or amputation has been considered as the sole reliable method for radiation dose assessment in hands and feet. EPR measurements in finger- and toenail have been considered for accident dosimetry for a long time. Human nails are very attractive biophysical materials because they are easy to collect and pertinent to whole body irradiation. Information on the existence of a radiation-induced signal in human nails has been reported almost 25 years ago. However, no practical application of EPR dosimetry on nails is known to date because, from an EPR perspective, nails represent a very complex material. In addition to the radiation-induced signal (RIS), parasitic and intense signals are induced by the mechanical stress caused when collecting nail samples (mechanically induced signals—MIS). Moreover, it has been demonstrated that the RIS stability is strongly influenced not only by temperature but also by humidity. Most studies of human nails were carried out using conventional X-band microwave band (9 GHz). Higher frequency Q-band (37 GHz) provides higher spectral resolution which allows obtaining more detailed information on the nature of different radicals in human nails. Here, we present for the first time a complete description of the different EPR signals identified in nails including parasitic, intrinsic and RIS. EPR in both X- and Q-bands was used. Four different MIS signals and five different signals specific to irradiation with ionizing radiation have been identified. The most important outcome of this work is the identification of a stable RIS component. In contrast with other identified (unstable) RIS components, this component is thermally and time stable and not affected by the physical contact of fingernails with water. A detailed description of this signal is provided here. The discovery of stable radiation-induced radical(s) associated with the RIS component mentioned opens a way for broad application of EPR dosimetry in human nails. Consequently, several recent dosimetry assessments of real accident cases have been performed based on the described measurements and analyses of this component.

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