The article under consideration is “Radiation technologies: past, present and future” by A.G. Chmielewski and M. Haji-Saeid (2004). The research in question is devoted to the problem of radiation and its sources. The authors dwell on the historic background of studying the issue as well as on more recent findings in the sphere.
X-rays and natural radioactivity were discovered as early as in the XIXth century. Very soon after that, Marie Curie-Sklodowska and her husband proved the action of radioactivity on living organism and materials. Since that time the study of radiation effect has not stopped. Nuclear reactors producing radioisotopes and gamma-ray emitters such as cobalt-60 are only a few among radiation sources which find their application both in medical and industrial spheres. Moreover, the number of irradiators is growing (Chmielewski & Haji-Saeid, 2004, p. 16). In addition to gamma irradiators, there are electron accelerators. There are different kinds of electron accelerators which can be used for radiation processing. They include direct accelerators, transformer accelerators, single resonant cavity accelerators and microwave source powered linear accelerators (Chmielewski & Haji-Saeid, 2004, p. 17). Besides, there are developments of the concept of e- /X conversion; however, a breakthrough in the technology is still expected.
Such an active research in the sphere of radiation processing can be explained by the fact that radiation is a unique source of energy which, unlike many others, can cause necessary chemical reactions without any catalysts, at any temperature, and under any pressure. Examples of successful implementation of radiation processing technologies include processing of natural polymers, production of cellulosic materials for pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, manufacture of some chitosan derivatives and many others. Radiation sterilization and food irradiation are also among well-established techniques which are actively used throughout the world. Moreover, it is said that radiation can be quite effectively used in the environmental sphere, for instance, drinking water and wastewater purification, or liquid sludge hygienization (Chmielewski & Haji-Saeid, 2004, p. 18).
So, taking into account what is already known about the beneficial effect of radiation use and what can potentially be discovered, it is easy to agree with Chmielewski and Haji-Saeid that the role of radiation in our modern world is enormous and, therefore, further developments in the field are undoubtedly necessary.
Chmielewski, A.G., & Haji-Saeid, M. (2004). Radiation technologies: past, present and future. Radiation Physics and Chemistry, 71, 16–20.