Geometry optimisation of graphite energy degrader for proton therapy

Ewa Oponowicz, Hywel Owen, Serena Psoroulas, David Meer

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Abstract

ntroduction: Cyclotron-based proton therapy facilities use an energy degrader of variable thickness to deliver beams of the different energies required by a patient treatment plan; scattering and straggling in the degrader give rise to an inherent emittance increase and subsequent particle loss in the downstream energy-selection system (ESS). Here we study alternative graphite degrader geometries and examine with Monte-Carlo simulations the induced emittance growth and consequent particle transmission.
Methods: We examined the conventional multiple-wedge degrader used in the Paul Scherrer Institute PROSCAN proton therapy system, the equivalent parallel-sided degrader, and a single block degrader of equivalent thickness. G4Beamline Monte-Carlo tracking of protons was benchmarked against measurements of the existing degrader for proton energies from 75 to 230 MeV, and used to validate simulations of the alternative geometries.
Results: Using a careful calculation of the beam emittance growth, we determined that a single-block degrader placed close to the collimators of the ESS is expected to deliver significantly larger transmission, up to 17% larger at 150 MeV. At the lowest deliverable of 75 MeV there is still a clear improvement in beam transmission.
Conclusions: Whilst dose rates are not presently limited on the PROSCAN system at higher energies, a single-block degrader offers the ability to access either lower energies for treatment or a larger dose rate at 75 MeV in case transmission optimisation is desired. Single-block degraders should be considered for the delivery of low-energy protons from a cyclotron-based particle therapy system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
JournalPhysica Medica
Volume76
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

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