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March 12th, 2008
As Richard Branson gears up to commercialise flights into space, a team of Australian scientists are pushing new frontiers that could not only make air and space travel safer but also help in the fight against cancer.
In a world first, Australian scientists have designed and developed a miniature radiation detector the size of a human cell nucleus. The revolutionary device called a micro-dosimeter can accurately measure how much energy is deposited by radiation in the cell nucleus which greatly assists in the understanding of the effect of the radiation on the cell.
The technology was developed in collaboration between the University of Wollongong, ANSTO and the University of New South Wales based on an original concept from Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld of the University of Wollongong.
"This is a significant breakthrough in our ability to successfully measure different kinds of radiation and accurately predict the cancer risk of radiation exposure," said Anatoly.
Anatoly explained that conventional detectors are not sophisticated enough to give accurate readings as they are only designed to measure radiation in large volumes and only for specific types of radiation, namely gamma and neutron.
To build a micro-dosimeter, the volume of a cell nucleus, unique nanofabrication techniques were employed at the Nanotechnology Fabrication Facility at the University of New South Wales.
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