This book will acquaint the interested physician or physicist with the fundamental principles and the instrumentation relevant to analytical techniques based on atomic and nuclear physics, as well as present and future biomedical applications. Besides providing a theoretical description of the physical phenomena, a large part of the book is devoted to applications in the medical and biological field, particularly in haematology, forensic medicine and environmental science.
Analysis of the elemental composition of human tissues and cells and in particular trace elements has attracted increasing interest over the last few years, due to the increase in knowledge on the role of some elements and the possible correlations between abnormal concentrations of one or more trace elements and pathological conditions. This has stimulated the development of analytical techniques which allow the detection of trace elements simultaneously and at very low concentrations. Particularly in methods involving nuclear principles or nuclear apparatus, many techniques have been largely and successfully developed in recent years and applied in the medical field. This volume reviews methods such as the possibility of carrying out rapid multi-element analysis of trace elements on biomedical samples, in vitro and in vivo, by XRF-analysis; the ability of the PIXE-microprobe to analyze in detail and to map trace elements in fragments of biomedical samples or inside the cells; the potentiality of in vivo nuclear activation analysis for diagnostic purposes. Finally, techniques are described such as radiation scattering (elastic and inelastic scattering) and attenuation measurements which will undoubtedly see great development in the immediate future.