Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version

April 1999


Published in Radiat Environ Biophys (1999) 38:81–92.


The average or amorphous track model uses the response of a system to gamma-rays and the radial distribution of dose about an ion’s path to describe survival and other cellular endpoints from proton, heavy ion, and neutron irradiation. This model has been used for over 30 years to successfully fit many radiobiology data sets. We review several extensions of this approach that address objections to the original model, and consider applications of interest in radiobiology and space radiation risk assessment. In the light of present views of important cellular targets, the role of target size as manifested through the relative contributions from ion-kill (intra-track) and gamma-kill (inter-track) remains a critical question in understanding the success of the amorphous track model. Several variations of the amorphous model are discussed, including ones that consider the radial distribution of event-sizes rather than average electron dose, damage clusters rather than multiple targets, and a role for repair or damage processing.

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