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LET measurements with a Liquid Ionization Chamber

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PhD Thesis - Sara Tegami.pdf
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Tegami, S. (2013). LET measurements with a Liquid Ionization Chamber. PhD Thesis, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg.

Deep-seated tumors can be efficiently treated with heavy charged particles. The characteristic depth dose profile inside the tissue (Bragg peak) allows to deliver a high dose inside the tumor, while sparing the neighboring healthy tissue. As compared to protons, heavy ions like carbon or oxygen produce a higher amount of ionization events along their track (and in particular at the end of the ion beam path), resulting in an irreparable damage to the DNA of the tumor cells. The density of such ionization events is described in terms of Linear Energy Transfer (LET), an important physical quantity, but difficult to be measured directly. The aim of this work is to determine LET of hadrontherapy beams by using Liquid Ionization Chambers (LIC). The ionization signal in LICs is affected by recombination effects that depend on the LET of the incident radiation. Differences in recombination effects in LICs and air-filled ionization chambers can be exploited to obtain the recombination index, which can be related to the LET, calculated by Monte Carlo methods. We thus developed a method to construct a calibration curve, which relates the recombination index with the LET at each depth in water. The result of this work can be used for online monitoring of the ion beam quality.