NADIR - biologically relevant NAnoDosimetry of Ionizing Radiation

The biological effects of accelerated ions are due to the scattered electrons breaking the chemical bonds in DNA molecules. The projects aims to develop calibration methods and protocols in order to quantify the effects of ion beam treatments on tumoral cells.

The Science

Accelerated ions going through the matter collide on molecular electrons which receive energy and bounce around the ion track. The heavier is the impinging ions, the higher is the number of electrons pulled out and accelerated away from the track. In biologically treatments with ion beams these electrons can break DNA chemical bonds giving rise to the death of the cell. At present, it is hard to quantify the biological effects of ion beams due to the complexity of the “track structure”, that is how many electrons and with which energies are produced by accelerated ion. The aim of NADIR is to study calibration procedures of the biological damage of ion beams, useful for fixing treatment protocols of tumoral cells. In particular, TIFPA unit is focused on the realization of a portable system for the measurements of the nano-dose, which is the energy released by the ion to the DNA molecule, whose dimension is of the order of nanometers (one millionth of a millimeter).


• Involved external institutions: /
• INFN groups: Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro, TIFPA, Catania, Milano, Padova
• Principal Investigator: Valeria Conte (INFN – Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro)
• INFN Project: CSN V
• Duration: 2 years (2016 - 2017)


• Local responsible for TIFPA: Alberto Quaranta
• Involved TIFPA people: Marco Durante, Emanuele Scifoni