Boron concentration measurement in biological tissues by charged particle spectrometry

S. Bortolussi, S. Altieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Measurement of boron concentration in biological tissues is a fundamental aspect of boron neutron capture therapy, because the outcome of the therapy depends on the distribution of boron at a cellular level, besides on its overall concentration. This work describes a measurement technique based on the spectroscopy of the charged particles emitted in the reaction 10B(n,α)7Li induced by thermal neutrons, allowing for a quantitative determination of the boron concentration in the different components that may be simultaneously present in a tissue sample, such as healthy cells, tumor cells and necrotic cells. Thin sections of tissue containing 10B are cut at low temperatures and irradiated under vacuum in a thermal neutron field. The charged particles arising from the sample during the irradiation are collected by a thin silicon detector, and their spectrum is used to determine boron concentration through relatively easy calculations. The advantages and disadvantages of this technique are here described, and validation of the method using tissue standards with known boron concentrations is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-503
Number of pages11
JournalRadiation and Environmental Biophysics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • α-Spectrometry
  • BNCT
  • Boron concentration
  • Thermal neutrons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiation
  • Environmental Science(all)


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