Last reviewed 01/2018

Radiobiology is the study of the effects of ionising radiation on living things - cells, tissues and organisms.

Broadly radiation can be divided into:

  • low longitudinal energy transfer (LET), which includes X rays and gamma rays - sparsely ionising radiation
  • high LET - including electrons, protons, alpha particles, neutrons, heavily charged particles - high LET - densely ionising

Directly ionising radiation directly disrupts the atomic structure of the absorbing material and includes electrons, protons, alpha particles and heavy, charged particles.

Indirectly ionising radiations give up their energy to form fast moving particles.