Radiation Physics our Mission

To teach the carefull use of  ionising radiation and to use it versatile!

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The Radiation Physics group forms the “heart” of the nuclear competence of the Institute of Atomic & Subatomic Physics. Communication of the basic principles of radiation and health physics are pivotal to responsible and safe application of radioactive materials and other sources of ionizing radiation for scientific, technical and medical purposes. Research, technological development, education and training in all aspects of radiation physics and handling of radioactivity are thus considered as core competences of our group. The diversity of interests, ranging from fundamental research on radiation effects in condensed matter to applied sciences using a variety of analytical techniques, is our competitive advantage. See also our publications.


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The “center” of our group is the research reactor. The reactor is operated not only to fulfill the group’s demands with respect to research and education; we are also open for collaboration with other groups and institutions. Training and education are major topics in the utilization of the reactor. Beyond many courses for students of the TU Wien, we offer reactor physics training courses also for external users, such as the safeguards trainees of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), or students from universities all over the world (e.g. the University of Manchester), or reactor operators from various European countries.

The radiochemistry and nuclear chemistry groups are closely connected to the reactor. Here research primarily in the field of radioanalytical methods and neutron activation analysis is conducted. Applications range from fundamental research (e.g. the development of fast sample transfer systems), to environmental analysis and archaeometry. In many lab courses, the group teaches the safe and responsible handling of radioactive materials.

The X-ray physics group mainly deals with the development and application of special techniques of Energy dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF). X-ray tubes and radioisotopes are used for sample excitation in the laboratory. Synchrotron radiation sources at research facilities offer highly improved conditions for special XRF techniques (TXRF, µXRF, XAS, …). Total Reflection X-ray Fluorescence analysis (TXRF) extends the applicability into the ultra trace element range with detection limits of ng/g. Grazing Incidence XRF (GI-XRF) is used to determine thickness of thin films and multilayer structures as well as depth profiling of implantations in Si-Wafers (ultra shallow junctions). Micro-XRF (µXRF) allows 2D and 3D mapping of the elemental distribution with a spatial resolution at the micrometer scale. Applications range from trace element distribution in human tissue, (eg. bone) to investigations of art objects such as Benvenuto Cellini’s Saliera or of environmental samples.  In combination with X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) highly specific information on the speciation of particular elements can be obtained using Synchrotron radiation. 

Investigation and modelling of radiation effects in condensed matter and biological systems are Research topic of the dosimetry group. They will enhance their relevance to environmental, medical and industrial applications. The increasing utilization of charged particle beams for therapeutic purposes requires the design of novel detector systems, which should be tissue-equivalent and capable of assessing radiation quality for a diversity of ion species. Development of novel quasi-biological radiation detectors will enable assessing complex mixed radiation fields and support evaluating radiation risk as the basis of new concepts in health physics. Due to the nature of cosmic rays with respect to elemental abundance and energy, space dosimetry activities are closely related to these interests as space is viewed as an ideal test bed for detector development.

The health physics group focuses on therapeutic applications of ionizing radiation. One topic of this group is also accelerator physics (see MedAustron).

The operational radiation protection group is associated with the activities of the radiation physics group. It is this group’s responsibility that the necessary measures with respect to radiation protection are followed in the course of the work with ionizing radiation.