Letter | Published:

Visual Sensations produced by Single Fast Particles

Naturevolume 230pages522524 (1971) | Download Citation



IT has long been known that the sensation of light (phosphene) can be produced by the effect of ionizing X-radiation on the retina1–3. The threshold dose for a phosphene falls with dark adaptation but always corresponds to the simultaneous arrival of many X-ray photons. Little attention has, however, been paid to the question of whether single fast particles can produce phosphenes, with the exception of the pioneering attempts by D'Arcy and Porter4 to detect single relativistic cosmic-ray muons.

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    Lipetz, L. E., Response of the Nervous System to Ionising Radiation (edit. by Haley, T. J., and Snider, R. S.), 533 (Academic Press, London, 1962).

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    Lebedinskiy, A. V., and Nakhil'nitskaya, Z. N., Effects of Ionising Radiation on the Nervous System, 7 (Elsevier, London, 1963).

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    Kimeldorf, D. J., and Hunt, E. L., Ionising Radiation—Neural Function and Behaviour, 131 (Academic Press, London, 1965).

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    D'Arcy, F. J., and Porter, N. A., Nature, 196, 1013 (1962).

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    Science News, 9, 523 (1970).

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    Fazio, G. G., Jelley, J. V., and Charman, W. N., Nature, 228, 260 (1970).

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    Tobias, C. A., Budinger, T. F., and Lyman, J. T., University of California Radiation Laboratory Report, No. UCRL 19868 (1970).

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  1. G. G. FAZIO: On leave from Smithsonian Institution Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


  1. Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, Berkshire

    • W. N. CHARMAN
    • , J. A. DENNIS
    • , G. G. FAZIO
    •  & J. V. JELLEY


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