Carbon-11 and Carbon-12 beam range verifications through prompt gamma and annihilation gamma measurements: Monte carlo simulations

Ananta Raj Chalise, Yujie Chi, Youfang Lai, Yiping Shao, Mingwu Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Range uncertainty remains a big concern in particle therapy, as it may cause target dose degradation and normal tissue overdosing. Positron emission tomography (PET) and prompt gamma imaging (PGI) are two promising modalities for range verification. However, the relatively long acquisition time of PET and the relatively low yield of PGI pose challenges for real-time range verification. In this paper, we explore using the primary Carbon-11 (C-11) ion beams to enhance the gamma yield compared to the primary C-12 ion beams to improve PET and PGI by using Monte Carlo simulations of water and PMMA phantoms at four incident energies (95, 200, 300, and 430 MeV u−1). Prompt gammas (PGs) and annihilation gammas (AGs) were recorded for post-processing to mimic PGI and PET imaging, respectively. We used both time-of-flight (TOF) and energy selections for PGI, which boosted the ratio of PGs to background neutrons to 2.44, up from 0.87 without the selections. At the lowest incident energy (100 MeVu-1), PG yield from C-11 was 0.82 times of that from C-12, while AG yield from C-11 was 6 ∼ 11 folds higher than from C-12 in PMMA. At higher energies, PG differences between C-11 and C-12 were much smaller, while AG yield from C-11 was 30%∼90% higher than from C-12 using minute-acquisition. With minute-acquisition, the AG depth distribution of C-11 showed a sharp peak coincident with the Bragg peak due to the decay of the primary C-11 ions, but that of C-12 had no such one. The high AG yield and distinct peaks could lead to more precise range verification of C-11 than C-12. These results demonstrate that using C-11 ion beams for potentially combined PGI and PET has great potential to improve online single-spot range verification accuracy and precision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA13
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Annihilation gamma (AG)
  • Beam range verification
  • Carbon-11
  • Hadron therapy
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Prompt gamma (PG)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Physiology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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