Future development of biologically relevant dosimetry.
Ionisation cluster-size distributions in nanometric volumes of liquid water were determined for alpha particles at 4.6 and 5.4 MeV by measuring cluster-size frequencies in small gaseous volumes of nitrogen or propane at low gas pressure as well as by applying a suitable scaling procedure. This scaling procedure was based on the mean free ionisation lengths of alpha particles in water and in the gases measured. For validation, the measurements of cluster sizes in gaseous volumes and the cluster-size formation in volumes of liquid water of equivalent size were simulated by Monte Carlo methods. The experimental water-equivalent cluster-size distributions in nitrogen and propane are compared with those in liquid water and show that cluster-size formation by alpha particles in nitrogen or propane can directly be related to those in liquid water.