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Phys Med Biol. 2014 Oct 7;59(19):5849-71. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/59/19/5849. Epub 2014 Sep 10.

Prompt gamma imaging of proton pencil beams at clinical dose rate.

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Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria, Milano, Italy. Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Milano, Milano, Italy.


In this work, we present experimental results of a prompt gamma camera for real-time proton beam range verification. The detection system features a pixelated Cerium doped lutetium based scintillation crystal, coupled to Silicon PhotoMultiplier arrays, read out by dedicated electronics. The prompt gamma camera uses a knife-edge slit collimator to produce a 1D projection of the beam path in the target on the scintillation detector. We designed the detector to provide high counting statistics and high photo-detection efficiency for prompt gamma rays of several MeV. The slit design favours the counting statistics and could be advantageous in terms of simplicity, reduced cost and limited footprint. We present the description of the realized gamma camera, as well as the results of the characterization of the camera itself in terms of imaging performance. We also present the results of experiments in which a polymethyl methacrylate phantom was irradiated with proton pencil beams in a proton therapy center. A tungsten slit collimator was used and prompt gamma rays were acquired in the 3-6 MeV energy range. The acquisitions were performed with the beam operated at 100 MeV, 160 MeV and 230 MeV, with beam currents at the nozzle exit of several nA. Measured prompt gamma profiles are consistent with the simulations and we reached a precision (2σ) in shift retrieval of 4 mm with 0.5 × 10(8), 1.4 × 10(8) and 3.4 × 10(8) protons at 100, 160 and 230 MeV, respectively. We conclude that the acquisition of prompt gamma profiles for in vivo range verification of proton beam with the developed gamma camera and a slit collimator is feasible in clinical conditions. The compact design of the camera allows its integration in a proton therapy treatment room and further studies will be undertaken to validate the use of this detection system during treatment of real patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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