Formation of Activated Hydrogen Peroxide by Irradiation of Water with α-Rays


WHEN water is exposed to ionizing radiations the radicals H and OH are produced and these can combine either with each other to give the molecular products H2 and H2O2, or with solutes1. In regions of high energy loss (such as α-particle tracks) the local concentration of radicals is sufficiently high for combination between them to occur sooner than reaction with the solute. Consequently, while the chemical effects of X-rays on aqueous solutions are brought about chiefly by radical reactions, those of α-rays are chiefly by molecular reactions. However, in α-irradiations there are δ-rays associated with the α-particle tracks and these always introduce a small fraction of relatively sparsely ionizing radiation which prevents any absolute distinction being made between the effects of X- and α-irradiations.

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ALEXANDER, P., ROSEN, D. Formation of Activated Hydrogen Peroxide by Irradiation of Water with α-Rays. Nature 188, 574–575 (1960).

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