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Opt Lett. 2013 Mar 1;38(5):634-6. doi: 10.1364/OL.38.000634.

Three-dimensional Čerenkov tomography of energy deposition from ionizing radiation beams.

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Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.


Since its discovery during the 1930s the Čerenkov effect (light emission from charged particles traveling faster than the local speed of light in a dielectric medium) has been paramount in the development of high-energy physics research. The ability of the emitted light to describe a charged particle's trajectory, energy, velocity, and mass has allowed scientists to study subatomic particles, detect neutrinos, and explore the properties of interstellar matter. However, to our knowledge, all applications of the process to date have focused on the identification of particles themselves, rather than their effect upon the surroundings through which they travel. Here we explore a novel application of the Čerenkov effect for the recovery of the spatial distribution of ionizing radiation energy deposition in a medium and apply it to the issue of dose determination in medical physics. By capturing multiple projection images of the Čerenkov light induced by a medical linear accelerator x-ray photon beam, we demonstrate the successful three-dimensional tomographic reconstruction of the imparted dose distribution.

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