Optical Fibers as Dosimeter Detectors for Mixed Proton/Neutron Fields—A Biological Dosimeter

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In recent years, proton therapy has gained importance as a cancer treatment modality due to its conformality with the tumor and the sparing of healthy tissue. However, in the interaction of the protons with the beam line elements and patient tissues, potentially harmful secondary neutrons are always generated. To ensure that this neutron dose is as low as possible, treatment plans could be created to also account for and minimize the neutron dose. To monitor such a treatment plan, a compact, easy to use, and inexpensive dosimeter must be developed that not only measures the physical dose, but which can also distinguish between proton and neutron contributions. To that end, plastic optical fibers with scintillation materials (Gd2O2S:Tb, Gd2O2S:Eu, and YVO4:Eu) were irradiated with protons and neutrons. It was confirmed that sensors with different scintillation materials have different sensitivities to protons and neutrons. A combination of these three scintillators can be used to build a detector array to create a biological dosimeter.