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Issue Date: 24-Feb-2016
Authors: Tramontana, Antonella
Title: Experimental measurements and Monte Carlo simulations of a transport beamline for laser-driven proton beams
Abstract: In the last few decades, ion optical acceleration represented one of the most attractive topics in the relativistic laser-plasma interaction research, opening the possibility to investigate innovative regimes and different potential applications. In particular, it is becoming evident that, in the next future, laser-driven acceleration could represent an effective alternative to conventional particle accelerators. Indeed, laser-matter interaction could lead to more compact and less expensive acceleration systems and, consequently, to a larger availability of high-energy ion beams around the world. Up to now, optically accelerated ion beams are characterised by extreme features, not suitable for many applications and of course also for the hadrontherapy applications, that are the most demanding in terms of beam transport, handling, control and reliability. Significant effort, at laser/target level as well as by means of customised transport beamlines, is currently ongoing in several facilities world wide in order to demonstrate the possible clinical application of laser-driven beams. Also pre-clinical studies, as the experiment reported in the thesis, were performed to try to improve the knowledge on the biological effectiveness of laser-driven beams in respect to the conventional ones, but in most of cases the uncertainties arising from the beam handling and transport do not allow to achieve undeniable results. Therefore, to reach the required accuracy for radiobiology experiments, it is desirable to better handle and control the transported beam. According to this requirement, new prototypes for the beam transport and handling have been designed and realised at INFN-LNS in Catania. They can be properly combined in a modular system composing a prototype beamline for the beam collection and energy selection. On the basis of these prototypes, the final transport elements will be realised and assembled within 2017 for the ELIMAIA beamline, at the ELI-Beamlines facility in Prague (Cz). In addiction to a precise description of the transport beamline prototypes, results from their tests will be reported in the thesis, together with different simulative studies. Monte Carlo simulations have been initially performed to support the design procedure and, at a later stage, to study the particle transport and dose distributions along the beamline. In particular, the Geant4 (GEometry ANd Tracking) Monte Carlo toolkit has been used at this aim. After the characterisations of each single beamline element with both conventional and laser-driven beams and after the Monte Carlo code validation (performed using the experimental data as reference), the attention was focused on the possibility to study a possible configuration of the whole prototype beamline, properly coupling the two main elements composing that. At this aim, experimental campaigns could be planned for the next months. To realistically reproduce the configuration to be used in the future experimental campaigns, Monte Carlo simulations of the whole transport beamline prototype were performed and finalised to the realisation of a proof-of-principle radiobiological experiment, that, as will be demonstrate, could be carried out with high dose-rate, small energy spread and well controlled dose distributions. Summarising, thanks to the experimental and simulative studies reported in this thesis, the control of laser-driven beams with the realised transport beamline prototypes is demonstrated. Even if the obtained results are not sufficient yet for an extended feasibility study related to hadrontherapy applications, they represent an important step towards future and more systematic studies.
Appears in Collections:Area 02 - Scienze fisiche

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