Conception of a New Recoil Proton Telescope for Real-Time Neutron Spectrometry in Proton-Therapy
Université de Strasbourg CNRS, IPHC UMR 7178 F-67000 Strasbourg, France
Published online: 10 January 2018
Neutrons are the main type of secondary particles emitted in proton-therapy. Because of the risk of secondary cancer and other late occurring effects, the neutron dose should be included in the out-of-field dose calculations. A neutron spectrometer has to be used to take into account the energy dependence of the neutron radiological weighting factor. Due to its high dependence on various parameters of the irradiation (beam, accelerator, patient), the neutron spectrum should be measured independently for each treatment.
The current reference method for the measurement of the neutron energy, the Bonner Sphere System, consists of several homogeneous polyethylene spheres with increasing diameters equipped with a proportional counter. It provides a highresolution reconstruction of the neutron spectrum but requires a time-consuming work of signal deconvolution. New neutron spectrometers are being developed, but the main experimental limitation remains the high neutron flux in proton therapy treatment rooms. A new model of a real-time neutron spectrometer, based on a Recoil Proton Telescope technology, has been developed at the IPHC. It enables a real-time high-rate reconstruction of the neutron spectrum from the measurement of the recoil proton trajectory and energy. A new fast-readout microelectronic integrated sensor, called FastPixN, has been developed for this specific purpose.
A first prototype, able to detect neutrons between 5 and 20 MeV, has already been validated for metrology with the AMANDE facility at Cadarache. The geometry of the new Recoil Proton Telescope has been optimized via extensive Geant4 Monte Carlo simulations. Uncertainty sources have been carefully studied in order to improve simultaneously efficiency and energy resolution, and solutions have been found to suppress the various expected backgrounds. We are currently upgrading the prototype for secondary neutron detection in proton therapy applications.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2018
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