DNA strand breaks induced by low keV energy heavy ions.
ABSTRACT We present some results on the interaction of low energy atomic ions with DNA. Experiments consist of irradiation of dried DNA in vacuum with Ar ions at low keV energies for different time intervals. The DNA is placed back in solution and analysed by agarose gel electrophoresis. These experiments demonstrated the production of single and double strand breaks. The induction of these lesions could be due to several processes: direct collisions with DNA constituent atoms resulting in displacements, cascade recoil collisions of the constituent atoms, electron transfer processes between the ion and the DNA as well as breaks induced by molecular excitation and secondary electron interactions. Here we briefly discuss some aspects of direct and recoil collision processes.