gms | German Medical Science

48th Meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group

Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG)

28.09. - 03.10.2009, Heidelberg

Laser-accelerated particle beams for radiation therapy

Meeting Abstract

Search Medline for

  • J. J. Wilkens - Department of Radiation Oncology, Technische Universität München, Klinikum rechts der Isar, München

PTCOG 48. Meeting of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group. Heidelberg, 28.09.-03.10.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09ptcog223

DOI: 10.3205/09ptcog223, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-09ptcog2238

Published: September 24, 2009

© 2009 Wilkens.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Laser-plasma acceleration using intense, ultra-short laser pulses could be a promising approach to replace conventional particle accelerators (cyclotrons or synchrotrons) and to build compact, cost-effective proton or ion therapy systems in the future. While this technology is still in a very early phase for therapeutic applications, considerable progress has been made over the last years to understand the involved physical mechanisms and to improve the quality of the generated particle beams, most prominently in terms of the achievable maximum energy and the shape of the energy spectrum. The interdisciplinary research cluster “Munich-Centre for Advanced Photonics” (MAP) focuses on these and related issues both from a fundamental physics point of view as well as with respect to applied medical physics and radiobiology with the long term goal of developing a laser-based particle therapy unit. In particular, it addresses the ion acceleration itself using ultra-thin diamond-like carbon foils as laser target, and a laser-driven medical beam line for radiation biology and dosimetric measurements is under construction. One important task is to study potential variations of the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) due to extremely high dose rates within each particle bunch generated by one laser shot. The energy and number of particles per shot and the dynamic range and precision to control it on a shot-by-shot basis are essential for a safe delivery and for treatment planning, where strategies to find robust and efficient treatment plans are being investigated to keep the required number of laser shots to a minimum. Additionally, appropriate methods for dose delivery including lateral beam shaping for a highly pulsed beam have to be developed in order to design the gantry and general setup of a clinical treatment unit using laser-accelerated particle beams. This system could potentially also be equipped with advanced imaging techniques using brilliant x-ray beams generated by laser-accelerated electrons.

Acknowledgment: Supported by DFG Cluster of Excellence: Munich-Centre for Advanced Photonics.