The course aims at providing the techniques for applying and measuring radiation beams and fields in X-ray and electron radiation therapy and in hadron therapy. In order to give a complete view of the various physical and engineering principles which rule the diagnostics and the radiation treatment of a patient, basics of radiation physics , the main emission diagnostic techniques, the principles of operation of particle accelerators applied in radiation therapy and the techniques for dose delivering are thoroughly discussed together with dosimetry and microdosimetry of radiation therapy and hadron therapy fields.
Principles of Radiation Physics. Definition of absorbed dose. Interactions (ionization, excitation and Coulomb scattering) of charged particles with matter. Production of Bremsstrahlung X-rays. Inelastic interactions of intermediate-energy hadrons with matter. Photonuclear reactions. Interactions of electromagnetic radiation with matter. Interactions of neutrons with biological tissues.
Outlines on radiation biology. Direct and indirect interactions of radiation with DNA. Survival curves. Relative biological effectiveness (RBE). The oxygen effect. Fractionation of radiation therapy.
Microdosimetry. Principles of microdosimetry. Microdosimetric spectra. The tissue-equivalent proportional counter (TEPC). Outlines on nanodosimetry.
Emission diagnostic techniques. Single Photon Emission Tomography (SPECT): collimation and detection of gamma rays, influence of Compton scattering. Positron Emission Tomography (PET): coincidence detection techniques, spatial resolution, random coincidence, attenuation and scattering, PET scintillators.
Principles of operation of particle accelerators. The Cockroft-Walton and Van De Graaff electrostatic accelerators. The betatron. The cyclotron. Resonant cavities (outlines). Linear accelerators for ions and electrons. The synchrotron (outlines).
Techniques for dose delivering. X-ray and electron radiation therapy: electron scatterers, Bremsstrahlung targets, flattening filters, collimators. Hadron therapy: dual-scattering systems, modulators, spread-out of Bragg peak, active techniques.
Boron Neutron capture Therapy (BNCT). Principles of BNCT. Neutron field tailoring for BNCT.
The course is structured in one semester with lectures of six hours per week. Seven experimental laboratories (duration about four hours per lab session) are offered, aiming at gaining experience with different types of radiation measurement techniques. Visits to radiation therapy, hadron therapy and BNCT facilities are organized in the framework of the course. Notes on the course topics are available on BeeP.