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Experimental facilities

The MIRCOM facility has been unveiled



On January 28th, the MIRCOM facility was unveiled at Cadarache, after eighteen months of work. The event brought together the IRSN and the Centre d’Études Nucléaires de Bordeaux Gradignan (CENBG), scientific partners of the project, local political and administrative leaders, as well as the main companies that worked on the project. In total, nearly 100 people attended the event.


This facility is part of radiobiology research efforts seeking to understand the mechanisms induced by ionizing radiation at the cellular and subcellular level. MIRCOM will particularly contribute to a major radiobiology research project at IRSN on understanding the complications of radiation therapy, ROSIRIS. One of this project’s objectives is to establish a link between the energy deposits at the nanoscale and early biological effects. These studies will also be useful for understanding the effects of low doses of ionizing radiation.


In practice, the MIRCOM microbeam is one of ten facilities in the world capable of targeting, with micrometric precision, cellular or subcellular elements with a defined number of ions, and monitoring the early biological effects of this radiation using video microscopy. The facility will be used to explore radiation-induced malfunctions not only at the DNA level but also in intra- and intercellular communication. The MIRCOM line is supported by the AMANDE facility and uses its 2 MV Tandetron™ accelerator, which produces light-hydrogen and deuterium ion beams in the 100 keV to 4 MeV range. The possibilities for MIRCOM are expanded with the addition of two new ion sources, a helium source and a light-ion source producing boron, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.


In the coming months, the MIRCOM facility will be characterized and the first experimental protocols put in place in order to facilitate the first irradiation campaigns beginning in early 2017.



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Photo: Jacques Repussard, IRSN's Director General © IRSN

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