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A laser-driven nanosecond proton source for radiobiological studies
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23. See supplementary material at http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4769372 for details on film dosimetry, proton transport simulations, and the irradiation setup and cell handling. [Supplementary Material]
View: Figures


Image of FIG. 1.

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FIG. 1.

Proton numbers per msr for nm-thin DLC targets (red) and 5 μm thick titanium targets (blue) in the energy band 5-6 MeV as a function of the maximum energy Emax representing a measure for performance of the setup at the ATLAS laser.

Image of FIG. 2.

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FIG. 2.

Setup (to scale) of the laser-driven proton beamline. Protons accelerated from nm-thin foils are collimated by miniature quadrupoles in a small energy band. A dipole magnet deflects the beam downwards. Protons exit the vacuum chamber and enter the biological sample. The proton spectra are normalized to 1 for the design energy of 5.2 MeV.

Image of FIG. 3.

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FIG. 3.

Lateral dose distribution at the position of the cell sample measured with radiochromic film (maximum: 7.1 Gy in a single laser shot). Horizontal scale bar, 1 mm.

Image of FIG. 4.

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FIG. 4.

Registration of the dose distribution measured by radiochromic film with the microstructured grid on the Mylar foil holding the cells. The exact location of the region of interest shown in Fig. 5(a) is indicated. Horizontal scale bar, 100 μm.

Image of FIG. 5.

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FIG. 5.

Initial DNA damage in HeLa cells. (a) Sample exposed to a mean dose of 1.0 Gy and (b) corresponding unirradiated control. Foci of γ-H2AX (red) and cell nuclei (blue) are shown (3D microscopy, maximum intensity projections, background correction, contrast enhanced). The red vertical bars in (a) are part of the grid used for spatial registration (Fig. 4). Horizontal scale bars, 10 μm.

Image of FIG. 6.

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FIG. 6.

Mean number of γ-H2AX foci per cell as a function of dose for laser-driven protons and 200 kV X-rays. Each data point for protons contains ∼20 cells. Error bars in dose show the dose inhomogeneity (standard deviation) across the regions of interest used for evaluation.


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Ion beams are relevant for radiobiological studies and for tumor therapy. In contrast to conventional accelerators, laser-driven ion acceleration offers a potentially more compact and cost-effective means of delivering ions for radiotherapy. Here, we show that by combining advanced acceleration using nanometer thin targets and beam transport, truly nanosecond quasi-monoenergetic proton bunches can be generated with a table-top laser system, delivering single shot doses up to 7 Gy to living cells. Although in their infancy, laser-ion accelerators allow studying fast radiobiological processes as demonstrated here by measurements of the relative biological effectiveness of nanosecond proton bunches in human tumor cells.


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Scitation: A laser-driven nanosecond proton source for radiobiological studies