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The Connection Between Cherenkov Light Emission and Radiation Absorbed Dose in Proton Irradiated Phantoms

A Darafsheh

A Darafsheh1*, R Taleei2 , A Kassaee1 , J Finlay1 , (1) University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, (2) UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX


SU-F-J-56 (Sunday, July 31, 2016) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: Range verification in proton therapy is of great importance. Cherenkov light follows the photon and electron energy deposition in water phantom. The purpose of this study is to investigate the connection between Cherenkov light generation and radiation absorbed dose in a water phantom irradiated with proton beams.

Methods: Monte Carlo simulation was performed by employing FLUKA Monte Carlo code to stochastically simulate radiation transport, ionizing radiation dose deposition, and Cherenkov radiation in water phantoms. The simulations were performed for proton beams with energies in the range 50-600 MeV to cover a wide range of proton energies.

Results: The mechanism of Cherenkov light production depends on the initial energy of protons. For proton energy with 50-400 MeV energy that is below the threshold (~483 MeV in water) for Cherenkov light production directly from incident protons, Cherenkov light is produced mainly from the secondary electrons liberated as a result of columbic interactions with the incident protons. For proton beams with energy above 500 MeV, in the initial depth that incident protons have higher energy than the Cherenkov light production threshold, the light has higher intensity. As the slowing down process results in lower energy protons in larger depths in the water phantom, there is a knee point in the Cherenkov light curve vs. depth due to switching the Cherenkov light production mechanism from primary protons to secondary electrons. At the end of the depth dose curve the Cherenkov light intensity does not follow the dose peak because of the lack of high energy protons to produce Cherenkov light either directly or through secondary electrons.

Conclusion: In contrast to photon and electron beams, Cherenkov light generation induced by proton beams does not follow the proton energy deposition specially close to the end of the proton range near the Bragg peak.

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