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Measurement uncertainties in neutron and gamma-ray imaging for proton range monitoring

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RNTW03 - New tomographic methods using particles

Proton therapy is a highly effective method for treating tumors. However, its potential is not fully realized due to proton beam range uncertainties caused by, e.g., patient positioning and anatomical changes. The current solution is increased treatment margins (typically 3.5% of the beam range) to fully cover the treatment volume but at a cost of also irradiating surrounding healthy tissue. To fully exploit the dosimetric benefits of proton therapy, these treatment margins need to be reduced. Recent pursuits have been made toward monitoring the proton beam range in real-time to enable more accurate radiation dose delivery and reduction of treatment margins. This includes a novel approach proposed by the NOVO project in which optically segmented plastic scintillator bars, also referred to as a Quasi-monolithic organic Detector Array (QuDA), will be used to image the production distribution of the prompt-gamma rays (PGs) and fast neutrons (FNs) produced in nuclear reactions inside the patient during treatment. The QuDA imaging principle is based on triple and double scattering for PGs and FNs, respectively, and measuring the deposited energy and scattering position for both particles and, additionally, time-of-flight for FNs to construct an image of their production distribution. Minimizing the QuDA’s measurement uncertainties is essential to achieve precise image reconstruction. In this talk, the nature and effect of these uncertainties will be presented along with demonstrations (based on Geant4 simulations and experimental data) of their impact on image reconstruction using the geometrical operation known in the physics community as the simple back projection method. The image quality will be quantified using metrics such as signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), and image resolution.

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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