- Graphite calorimeters are the primary standards for absorbed dose at NPL.
- In collaboration with the Maastro Clinic, Maastricht, Netherlands, NPL is developing a novel method of dosimetry using an Electronic Portal Imaging Device, a device found mounted on most clinical linacs used in hospitals for the treatment of cancer by radiotherapy.
- Proton and ion beams exhibit better dose characteristics than x-rays for radiotherapy.
Accurate dosimetry in radiotherapy is essential to realise its main aim, i.e. to eradicate a cancer whilst minimising the risk of severe side effects due to the unavoidable irradiation of healthy tissues and organs. In industrial irradiators for sterilisation of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, the need for accurate dosimetry is also governed by two opposing requirements: achieving legal tolerance levels for microbiological contamination whilst minimising the economic cost.
Our group provides dosimetry traceable to in-house primary standards for these applications using dedicated facilities such as a clinical linac and high-dose irradiators as well as specialised Monte Carlo simulation tools. We perform research to develop new dosimetric capabilities following up the rapidly expanding variety of radiotherapy technologies like stereotactic and rotational therapies as well as for emerging modalities like proton and carbon ion therapy. At the forefront of research in our field we contribute to the development of:
- new dosimetric concepts that are more closely related to the biological effects of ionising radiation by building and investigating novel micro- and nano-scale dosimeters;
- in-vivo dosimetry using portal imaging of the radiation transmitted through the patient;
- dosimetry for molecular radiotherapy in which radioactive atoms are delivered inside cancer cells via physiological and bio-molecular pathways.