Are Further Cross Section Measurements Necessary for Space Radiation Protection or Ion Therapy Applications? Helium Projectiles
Review article, 2020

The helium ((Formula presented.) He) component of the primary particles in the galactic cosmic ray spectrum makes significant contributions to the total astronaut radiation exposure. (Formula presented.) He ions are also desirable for direct applications in ion therapy. They contribute smaller projectile fragmentation than carbon ((Formula presented.) C) ions and smaller lateral beam spreading than protons. Space radiation protection and ion therapy applications need reliable nuclear reaction models and transport codes for energetic particles in matter. Neutrons and light ions ((Formula presented.) H, (Formula presented.) H, (Formula presented.) H, (Formula presented.) He, and (Formula presented.) He) are the most important secondary particles produced in space radiation and ion therapy nuclear reactions; these particles penetrate deeply and make large contributions to dose equivalent. Since neutrons and light ions may scatter at large angles, double differential cross sections are required by transport codes that propagate radiation fields through radiation shielding and human tissue. This work will review the importance of (Formula presented.) He projectiles to space radiation and ion therapy, and outline the present status of neutron and light ion production cross section measurements and modeling, with recommendations for future needs.

space radiation cross sections

helium projectile ion therapy

ion therapy cross sections

helium projectile space radiation

helium projectile cross section measurements


John W. Norbury

NASA Langley Research Center

Giuseppe Battistoni

National Institute for Nuclear Physics

Judith Besuglow

Heidelberg University

German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)

Luca Bocchini

Thales Alenia Space Italia

Daria Boscolo


Alexander Botvina

Russian Academy of Sciences

Martha Clowdsley

NASA Langley Research Center

Wouter de Wet

University of New Hampshire

Marco Durante

Technische Universität Darmstadt


Martina Giraudo

Thales Alenia Space Italia

Thomas Haberer

Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center

Lawrence Heilbronn

University of Tennessee

Felix Horst


Michael Krämer


Chiara La Tessa

Trento Institute for Fundamental Physics and Applications

University of Trento

Francesca Luoni

Technische Universität Darmstadt


Andrea Mairani

Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center

Silvia Muraro

National Institute for Nuclear Physics

Ryan B. Norman

NASA Langley Research Center

Vincenzo Patera

Sapienza University of Rome

G. Santin

Rhea Group

European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESA ESTEC)

Christoph Schuy


Lembit Sihver

Vienna University of Technology

Chalmers, Physics, Subatomic, High Energy and Plasma Physics

Tony C. Slaba

NASA Langley Research Center

Nikolai Sobolevsky

Russian Academy of Sciences

Albana Topi


Uli Weber


Charles M. Werneth

NASA Langley Research Center

C. Zeitlin

Leidos Innovations Corporation

Frontiers in Physics

2296424X (eISSN)

Vol. 8 565954

Subject Categories

Accelerator Physics and Instrumentation

Subatomic Physics

Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics



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