Led by Dr. Thomas Berger
The work of the Biophysics group comprises the investigation of the radiation environment in civil airflight altitudes, in low earth orbits, during interplanetary cruise and on planetary surfaces. Radiation exposures are determined using well characterised passive and active radiation detector systems. Passive detector packages as a minimum consists of plastic nuclear track detectors and thermoluminescence detectors, which allow mission integrated measurements of the absorbed dose, neutron dose, the heavy ion fluences and its spectral composition with respect to charge, energy and linear energy transfer (LET). Active systems in use are silicon detector telescopes or tissue equivalent proportional counters (TEPC), fro which flux of charged particles and the corresponding dose rate and LET spectra as a function of time are received. An important part of the work is the quantification of the detection efficiency of radiation detectors in reference fields. The group also develops, characterise and qualify new detector systems for the use as environmental dosemeters or as crew dosimeters for the International Space Station (ISS) or as new devices for missions to Mars. One recent development is the ESA facility MATROSHKA, which houses a human phantom equipped with a set of radiation detectors with the objective to assess organ doses for an astronaut working outside and inside the ISS.
A further task is the experimental and computational dosimetry of the radiation exposure at civil airflight altitudes. One part of this activity is the calculation and management of radiation exposure data for the Lufthansa aircrew. The expermental set for the measurements is comparable to that descibed above including the involvement of a human phantom.