Two-dimensional time-resolved scintillating sheet monitoring of proton pencil beam scanning FLASH mouse irradiations

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Background: Dosimetry in pre-clinical FLASH studies is essential for understanding the beam delivery conditions that trigger the FLASH effect. Resolving the spatial and temporal characteristics of proton pencil beam scanning (PBS) irradiations with ultra-high dose rates (UHDR) requires a detector with high spatial and temporal resolution. Purpose: To implement a novel camera-based system for time-resolved two-dimensional (2D) monitoring and apply it in vivo during pre-clinical proton PBS mouse irradiations. Methods: Time-resolved 2D beam monitoring was performed with a scintillation imaging system consisting of a 1 mm thick transparent scintillating sheet, imaged by a CMOS camera. The sheet was placed in a water bath perpendicular to a horizontal PBS proton beam axis. The scintillation light was reflected through a system of mirrors and captured by the camera with 500 frames per second (fps) for UHDR and 4 fps for conventional dose rates. The raw images were background subtracted, geometrically transformed, flat field corrected, and spatially filtered. The system was used for 2D spot and field profile measurements and compared to radiochromic films. Furthermore, spot positions were measured for UHDR irradiations. The measured spot positions were compared to the planned positions and the relative instantaneous dose rate to equivalent fiber-coupled point scintillator measurements. For in vivo application, the scintillating sheet was placed 1 cm upstream the right hind leg of non-anaesthetized mice submerged in the water bath. The mouse leg and sheet were both placed in a 5 cm wide spread-out Bragg peak formed from the mono-energetic proton beam by a 2D range modulator. The mouse leg position within the field was identified for both conventional and FLASH irradiations. For the conventional irradiations, the mouse foot position was tracked throughout the beam delivery, which took place through repainting. For FLASH irradiations, the delivered spot positions and relative instantaneous dose rate were measured. Results: The pixel size was 0.1 mm for all measurements. The spot and field profiles measured with the scintillating sheet agreed with radiochromic films within 0.4 mm. The standard deviation between measured and planned spot positions was 0.26 mm and 0.35 mm in the horizontal and vertical direction, respectively. The measured relative instantaneous dose rate showed a linear relation with the fiber-coupled scintillator measurements. For in vivo use, the leg position within the field varied between mice, and leg movement up to 3 mm was detected during the prolonged conventional irradiations. Conclusions: The scintillation imaging system allowed for monitoring of UHDR proton PBS delivery in vivo with 0.1 mm pixel size and 2 ms temporal resolution. The feasibility of instantaneous dose rate measurements was demonstrated, and the system was used for validation of the mouse leg position within the field.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Physics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • FLASH radiotherapy
  • in vivo measurement
  • proton PBS
  • scintillation imaging


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