Electrons rule the world: from quantum physics to cancer treatment
Prof. Sylwia Ptasinska
University of Notre Dame
The Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory has a long history of pursuing fundamental research on the effects initiated by ionizing radiation, spanning applications in multiple scientific disciplines. When impinging on all types of matter, ionizing radiation releases an enormous number of non-thermal secondary electrons. These electrons engage in a wide range of elementary collisional processes, which are driving forces in producing distinctive energetic and reactive species. In this talk, special attention will be given to a few quantum processes, particularly dissociative electron attachment and the recent experimental development in our laboratory, which promises to reveal a comprehensive picture of this dissociation process. Moreover, free electrons and unpaired electrons in radicals, both components of an atmospheric pressure plasma, are widely utilized as novel radiation sources for biomedical applications. In our laboratory, we utilize DNA and the biological cells as molecular probes to characterize the energetics and chemistry of this type of plasma and use machine learning techniques to assess electron-induced processes and improve plasma efficiency in cancer treatment.
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