Laser-driven proton and ion acceleration is an area of increasing research interest given the recent development of short pulse-high intensity lasers. Several groups have reported experiments to understand whether a laser-driven beam can be applied for radiobiological purposes and in each of these, the method to obtain dose and spectral analysis was slightly different. The difficulty with these studies is that the very large instantaneous dose rate is a challenge for commonly used dosimetry techniques, so that other more sophisticated procedures need to be explored. This paper aims to explain a method for obtaining the energetic spectrum and the dose of a laser-driven proton beam irradiating a cell dish used for radiobiology studies. The procedure includes the use of a magnet to have charge and energy separation of the laser-driven beam, Gafchromic films to have information on dose and partially on energy, and a Monte Carlo code to expand the measured data in order to obtain specific details of the proton spectrum on the cells. Two specific correction factors have to be calculated: one to take into account the variation of the dose response of the films as a function of the proton energy and the other to obtain the dose to the cell layer starting from the dose measured on the films. This method, particularly suited to irradiation delivered in a single laser shot, can be applied in any other radiobiological experiment performed with laser-driven proton beams, with the only condition that the initial proton spectrum has to be at least roughly known. The method was tested in an experiment conducted at Queen's University of Belfast using the TARANIS laser, where the mean energy of the protons crossing the cells was between 0.9 and 5 MeV, the instantaneous dose rate was estimated to be close to 10(9) Gy s(-1) and doses between 0.8 and 5 Gy were delivered to the cells in a single laser shot. The combination of the applied corrections modified the initial estimate of dose by up to 40%.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology