Organic Scintillator-Fibre Sensors for Proton Therapy Dosimetry

SCSF-3HF and EJ-260

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In proton therapy, the dose from secondary neutrons to the patient can contribute to side effects and the creation of secondary cancer. A simple and fast detection system to distinguish between dose from protons and neutrons both in pretreatment verification as well as potentially in vivo monitoring is needed to minimize dose from secondary neutrons. Two 3 mm long, 1 mm diameter organic scintillators were tested for candidacy to be used in a proton–neutron discrimination detector. The SCSF-3HF (1500) scintillating fibre (Kuraray Co. Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan) and EJ-260 plastic scintillator (Eljen Technology, Sweetwater, TX, USA) were irradiated at the TRIUMF Neutron Facility and the Proton Therapy Research Centre. In the proton beam, we compared the raw Bragg peak and spread-out Bragg peak response to the industry standard Markus chamber detector. Both scintillator sensors exhibited quenching at high LET in the Bragg peak, presenting a peak-to-entrance ratio of 2.59 for the EJ-260 and 2.63 for the SCSF-3HF fibre, compared to 3.70 for the Markus chamber. The SCSF-3HF sensor demonstrated 1.3 times the sensitivity to protons and 3 times the sensitivity to neutrons as compared to the EJ-260 sensor. Combined with our equations relating neutron and proton contributions to dose during proton irradiations, and the application of Birks’ quenching correction, these fibres provide valid candidates for inexpensive and replicable proton-neutron discrimination detectors.