MO-F-CAMPUS-J-01: Acoustic Range Verification of Proton Beams: Simulation of Heterogeneity and Clinical Proton Pulses




Through simulation, to assess acoustic-based range verification of proton beams (protoacoustics) under clinical conditions.


Pressure waves generated by the energy deposition of a 150 MeV, 8 mm FWHM pulsed pencil proton beam were numerically simulated through two


1) For a homogeneous water medium, an analytical wave-equation solution was used to calculate the time-dependent pressure measured at detector points surrounding the proton Bragg peak. 2) For heterogeneity studies, a CT tissue image was used to calculate the proton dose deposition and define the acoustic properties of the voxels through which numerical pressure wave propagation was simulated with the k-Wave matlab toolbox. The simulations were used to assess the dependence of the acoustic amplitude and range-verification accuracy on proton pulse rise time and tissue heterogeneity.


As the proton pulse rise time is increased from 1 to 40 µs, the amplitude of the expected acoustic emission decreases (a 60% drop distal to the Bragg peak), the central frequency of the expected signal decreases (from 45 to 6 kHz), and the accuracy of the range-verification decreases (from <1 mm to 16 mm at 5 cm distal to the Bragg peak). For a 300 nA pulse, the expected pressure range is on the order of 0.1 Pa, which is observable with commercial detectors. For the heterogeneous medium, our test case shows that pressure waves emitted by an anterior pencil beam directed into the abdomen and detected posteriorly can determine the Bragg peak range to an accuracy of <2mm for a 1 µs proton pulse.


For proton pulses with fast rise-times, protoacoustics is a promising potential method for monitoring penetration depth through heterogeneous tissue. The loss of range-verification accuracy with increasing rise-times, however, suggests the need for comparisons to modeling to improve accuracy for slower cyclotron proton sources.