4He dose- and track-averaged linear energy transfer: Monte Carlo algorithms and experimental verification

Publication Name

Physics in Medicine and Biology


Objective. In the present hadrontherapy scenario, there is a growing interest in exploring the capabilities of different ion species other than protons and carbons. The possibility of using different ions paves the way for new radiotherapy approaches, such as the multi-ions treatment, where radiation could vary according to target volume, shape, depth and histologic characteristics of the tumor. For these reasons, in this paper, the study and understanding of biological-relevant quantities was extended for the case of 4He ion. Approach. Geant4 Monte Carlo based algorithms for dose- and track-averaged LET (Linear Energy Transfer) calculations, were validated for 4He ions and for the case of a mixed field characterised by the presence of secondary ions from both target and projectile fragmentation. The simulated dose and track averaged LETs were compared with the corresponding dose and frequency mean values of the lineal energy, y D ¯ and y ¯ F , derived from experimental microdosimetric spectra. Two microdosimetric experimental campaigns were carried out at the Italian eye proton therapy facility of the Laboratori Nazionali del Sud of Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN-LNS, Catania, I) using two different microdosimeters: the MicroPlus probe and the nano-TEPC (Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter). Main results. A good agreement of L ¯ d Total and L ¯ t Total with y ¯ D and y ¯ T experimentally measured with both microdosimetric detectors MicroPlus and nano-TEPC in two configurations: full energy and modulated 4He ion beam, was found. Significance. The results of this study certify the use of a very effective tool for the precise calculation of LET, given by a Monte Carlo approach which has the advantage of allowing detailed simulation and tracking of nuclear interactions, even in complex clinical scenarios.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Number

654 002 ENSAR2

Funding Sponsor

Ministerstvo Školství, Mládeže a Tělovýchovy



Link to publisher version (DOI)