Improved proton CT imaging using a bismuth germanium oxide scintillator.

Author(s) Tanaka, S.; Nishio, T.; Tsuneda, M.; Matsushita, K.; Kabuki, S.; Uesaka, M.
Journal Phys Med Biol
Date Published 2018 Feb 02

Range uncertainty is among the most formidable challenges associated with the treatment planning of proton therapy. Proton imaging, which includes proton radiography and proton computed tomography (pCT), is a useful verification tool. We have developed a pCT detection system that uses a thick bismuth germanium oxide (BGO) scintillator and a CCD camera. The current method is based on a previous detection system that used a plastic scintillator, and implements improved image processing techniques. In the new system, the scintillation light intensity is integrated along the proton beam path by the BGO scintillator, and acquired as a two-dimensional distribution with the CCD camera. The range of a penetrating proton is derived from the integrated light intensity using a light-to-range conversion table, and a pCT image can be reconstructed. The proton range in the BGO scintillator is shorter than in the plastic scintillator, so errors due to extended proton ranges can be reduced. To demonstrate the feasibility of the pCT system, an experiment was performed using a 70 MeV proton beam created by the AVF930 cyclotron at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences. The accuracy of the light-to-range conversion table, which is susceptible to errors due to its spatial dependence, was investigated, and the errors in the acquired pixel values were less than 0.5 mm. Images of various materials were acquired, and the pixel-value errors were within 3.1%, which represents an improvement over previous results. We also obtained a pCT image of an edible chicken piece, the first of its kind for a biological material, and internal structures approximately one millimeter in size were clearly observed. This pCT imaging system is fast and simple, and based on these findings, we anticipate that we can acquire 200 MeV pCT images using the BGO scintillator system.

DOI 10.1088/1361-6560/aaa515
ISSN 1361-6560
Citation Phys Med Biol. 2018;63(3):035030.

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