This is the text, used for a graduate course about the chemical effects of high-energy radiation. It also has been used for teaching radiation biology and as background information for industrial applications.
High-energy radiation, or ionizing radiation, often called 'radioactive radiation', is everywhere, since matter around us, and even the matter we are made of, contains radioactive atoms. Also we are subjected to cosmic radiation. In addition we receive radiation doses as the result of various medical diagnostic techniques.
The chemical effects of high-energy radiation are widely applied. They are used in medicine for the treatment of tumors and there are a great many industrial applications.
There are different kinds of high-energy radiation, with different penetrating power. They have in common that they ionize the molecules, which means that ions and electrons are formed, that are chemically highly reactive species (radicals) and which can react with the surrounding material. In this way chemical reactions can be started in localized regions and deep in the material. This is used for example for polynerizarion processes, but also for tumor irradiation.