The photo shows a close-up of a Lichtenberg figure – popularly called an “electron tree” – produced in a cylinder of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Electron trees are created by irradiating a suitable insulating material, in this case PMMA, with an intense high energy electron beam. Upon discharge, during dielectric breakdown in the material, the electrons generate branching chains of fractures on leaving the PMMA, producing the tree pattern seen. To be able to create electron trees with a clinical linear accelerator, one needs to access the primary electron beam used for photon treatments. We appropriated a linac that was being decommissioned in our department and dismantled the head to circumvent the target and ion chambers. This is one of 24 electron trees produced before we had to stop the fun and allow the rest of the accelerator to be disassembled.
|Publication date||1. Nov 2013|
|Publication status||Published - 1. Nov 2013|