NIU is participating with proton therapy facilities in California and Illinois on the development of a next generation device for proton radiology (2D images) and proton tomography (3D images). These can give additional information to normal CT scans (which use photons) and MRIs. Please contact faculty George Coutrakon for more details.
Proton radiography will utilize the proton beam prior to a patient undergoing proton radiation therapy to verify the treament plant that has been earlier worked out by, for example, a CAT scan. Proton computed tomography (pCT) can be substituted for a X-ray CT scan and has the promise of both providing more accurate imaging and reducing the dose a partient receives during imaging. Both radiology and imaging require that the proton direction is measured before and after the patient, and that the energy loos of the proton travelling through the patient is measured, usually by a calorimeter.
NIU has partcipated in building two prototype devices. The first (in the 2008 poster) used silicon strips but was limited by proton rate. A new pCT detector (in the 2013 poster) showing in the photo ithe calorimeter with (back ) Sergey Uzunyan, Steve Boi, Eric Johnson, Jacob Kalnins, and (front) Sasha Dychkant and Vishnu Zutshi, is currently being built using scintillating fiber and a scintillator-based calorimeter, both read out by silicon photodetectors, and has begun collecting data. This work is being done nin collaboration with Fermilab and Delhi and is supported by a grant from the Department of defense. This grant has also funded a large GPU/CPU cluster located in Swen Parson which will be utlized to "unpack" the data that the detector will collect using the proton beam at the therapy center in DuPage County and from this determine the density distributions within the target phantom (i.e. the head in the diagram below).
pCT Scanner construction completed November 2013. From NIU: Sergey Uzunyan, Vishnu Zutshi, Steve Boi, Dave Hedin, Eric Johnson, Victoryia Zvoda, Kurt Francis, Leeanne Farnand, Sasha Dychkant, Jacob Kalnins