Développement de codes de simulation Monte-Carlo de la radiolyse de l'eau par des électrons, ions lourds, photons et neutrons applications à divers sujets d'intérêt expérimental
Water is a major component of living organisms, which can be 70-85% of the weight of cells. For this reason, water is a main target of ionizing radiations and plays a central role in radiobiology. Heavy ions, electrons and photons interact with water molecules; mainly by ionization and excitation. Neutrons interact with water molecules by elastic interactions, which generate recoil ions that will create ionizations and excitations in water molecules. These fast events (~10[superscript -12] s) lead to the formation of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). The ROS, in particular the hydroxyl radical (¨OH), interact with neighbour molecules such as proteins, lipids and nucleic acids by chemical interaction. Microbeams can irradiate selectively either the external membrane, the cytoplasm and the cell nucleus. These studies have shown that cell survival is greatly reduced when the nucleus is irradiated, but that this is not the case when cytoplasm or cell membrane is irradiated. Thus, DNA is a very sensitive site to ionizing radiation and ROS. For this reason, DNA has long been considered the most important molecule to explain radiobiological effects such as cell death. However, this concept has been challenged recently by new experimental results that have shown that cells which have not been directly in contact with radiation are also affected. This is called the bystander effect. Further studies have shown that a group of cells and their environment reacts collectively to radiation. A hypothesis put forward to explain this radiobiological phenomenon is that a irradiated cell will secrete signalling molecules that will affect non-irradiated cells. The implicated phenomenon and molecules are poorly understood at this moment. The purpose of this work is to improve our comprehension of the phenomenon in the microsecond that follows the irradiation. To these ends, a new Monte-Carlo simulation program of water radiolysis by photons has been generated. For photons of energy <2 MeV, they interact with water mainly by Compton and photoelectric effects, which create energetic electrons in water. The created electrons are then followed by our existing programs to simulate the radiolysis of water by photons. Similarly, a new code has been built to simulate the neutrons interaction with water. This code simulates the elastic collisions of a neutron with water molecules and calculates the number and energy of recoil protons and oxygen ions. The main part of this Ph.D. work was the generation of a non-homogeneous Monte-Carlo Step-By-Step (SBS) simulation code of non-homogeneous radiation chemistry. This new program has been used successfully to simulate radiolysis of water by ions of various LET, pH, ion types ([superscript 1]H[superscript +], [superscript 4]He[superscript 2+], [superscript 12]C[superscript 6+]) and temperature. The program has also been used to simulate the dose-rate effect and the Fricke and Ceric dosimeters. More complex systems (glycine, polymer gels and HCN) have also been simulated.