Bonini, Chiara (2018) Sviluppo di un Calorimetro Acromatico per Protoni in ambito medico. [Laurea triennale]
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iMPACT, innovative Medical Proton Achromatic Calorimeter and Tracker, is a University of Padua and INFN project, funded by the European Research Council. The project aim is to design, develop and prototype an extremely fast and accurate proton Computed Tomography Scanner, with the ultimate goal of enabling the realization of a clinically viable proton Computed Tomography (pCT) system. Proton Computed Tomography is an extremely promising technique able to reconstruct density maps of the human body with minimal dose release and high accuracy on tissue density, a particularly critical feature in cancer Hadron-Therapy treatment planning. Hadron-Therapy is a leading edge technique where protons or heavy-ions, instead of X-rays, are used to target and destroy a tumor within the human body. By exploiting the peculiar energy deposition distribution of hadrons, it is in fact possible to confine within a volume of few mm3 most of the energy released, hence sparing the healthy tissues surrounding the tumor. However, despite all its beneficial aspects, Hadron-Therapy is not yet widespread as other more established procedures, such as X-ray therapy. In particular, imaging techniques based on X-ray Computed Tomography (X-ray CT), currently used to produce body density maps, cannot provide information accurate enough to exploit the intrinsic accuracy of the hadron treatment. It is in fact necessary to possess very accurate knowledge of the density of the tissues crossed by the proton before reaching the tumor in order to precisely aim its energy release with millimeter precision. The idea standing behind the development of a pCT scanner is that using the same energy loss behavior for both the imaging process and the treatment would improve the performance of the latter, the physical interaction being the same. Currently, several pCT scanner prototypes are being developed around the world; pCT scanner technology however is still far from being applicable in a clinical environment, mainly due to the slow acquisition rates. The iMPACT project therefore plans to develop a pCT scanner able to overcome such limitation, leading the way towards sound and medical-grade apparatuses. This thesis begins by displaying both limitations and advantages of the Hadron Therapy technique; the pCT state-of-the-art is then reviewed, highlighting positive features as well as constraints that limit its applicability. The current state of development of the the iMPACT scanner, which embeds a tracker system and a calorimeter, is illustrated and discussed, focusing on the study of data collected with proton beams for the qualification of the iMPACT calorimeter and the development of future prototypes. The analysis therefore demonstrates that the hybrid energy-range calorimeter being designed for the iMPACT project has the necessary features to be an effective component to realize a fast and accurate proton Tomography scanner.
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