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Beam characterisation and dose determination

In clinical radiation oncology as well as in radiobiology accurate knowledge of the beam characteristics including secondary particle composition and the resulting dose distribution is of utmost importance.

It is generally agreed, that even small uncertainties in the absorbed dose can translate into large uncertainties in response at the tissue and cellular level. The absorbed dose is a fundamental parameter which in the end determines the effects observed. Improving the accuracy in determination of absorbed dose is on the one hand beneficial for individual patients and will, on the other hand, improve the accuracy of other research topics in precision radiation oncology e.g. outcome modelling/prediction or radiation biology. The use of scanned particle beams for ion beam therapy introduces additional challenges due to linear energy transfer (LET) effects.

Current challenges in photon radiotherapy and preclinical research concern accurate dosimetry in small fields and/or composite fields. This is gaining more and more importance with the increasing use of complex, highly conformal treatment techniques such as IMRT/VMAT, especially when used in stereotactic (body) radiotherapy or radiosurgery. For beam characterization, especially in ion beam therapy, investigations using Monte Carlo simulation have become a standard procedure in medical radiation physics. Such theoretical studies are especially important for subsequent experimental study design for absorbed dose determination or complementary micro-dosimetric experiments.

Our research topics cover different types of radiation ranging from photons and electrons over protons to heavier ion species such as helium and carbon ions. Current areas of interest include time resolved dosimetry, multi-dimensional dosimetry, characterization of novel dosimetry detectors, new fields of application, determination of LET spectra as well as dosimetry in magnetic fields.