DNA strand breaks induced by 0-4 eV electrons: the role of shape resonances

Phys Rev Lett. 2004 Aug 6;93(6):068101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.068101. Epub 2004 Aug 3.


Collisions of 0-4 eV electrons with thin DNA films are shown to produce single strand breaks. The yield is sharply structured as a function of electron energy and indicates the involvement of pi* shape resonances in the bond breaking process. The cross sections are comparable in magnitude to those observed in other compounds in the gas phase in which pi* electrons are transferred through the molecule to break a remote bond. The results therefore support aspects of a theoretical study by Barrios et al. [J. Phys. B 106, 7991 (2002)]] indicating that such a mechanism could produce strand breaks in DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / radiation effects*
  • DNA Damage*
  • Electrons*
  • Normal Distribution


  • DNA