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Laser-driven Proton Beam Therapy - position filled

(University of Liverpool)

Radiation therapy, a cornerstone of cancer treatment, is used in over 50% of cancer patients. The most frequently used types of radiotherapy employ photon or electron beams with MeV-scale energies. Proton and ion beams offer substantial advantages over X-rays because the bulk of the beam energy is deposited in the Bragg peak. This allows dose to be conformed to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue and organs at risk. The benefits of proton and ion-beam therapy are widely recognized.


EuPRAXIA provides an exciting platform to explore new, highly flexible radiation sources which can allow proton and ion beams to be captured at energies significantly above the proton- and ion-capture energies that pertain in conventional facilities, thereby evading the current space-charge limit on the instantaneous dose rate that can be delivered. This project will investigate Laser-driven Proton Beam Therapy as a potential application with important health, economic and social impact.


This project will study concepts for using a laser to drive the creation of a large flux of protons or light ions which are captured and formed into a beam by strong-focusing plasma lenses. A laser-driven source allows protons and ions to be captured at energies significantly above those that pertain in conventional facilities, thus evading the current space-charge limit on the instantaneous dose rate that can be delivered.


Beam physics and plasma simulation studies that target minimizing the beam’s divergence, energy spread, and provide stable intensity pulse-to-pulse. Moreover, the project will explore the use of gas jet technology for characterizing charged particle beams. The QUASAR Group has pushed this technology for more than a decade and already optimized it for use with low energy electrons and antiprotons, as well as for the high luminosity upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. In EuPRAXIA-DN this will be adapted for the challenges found in laser-driven ion beam cancer therapy and connected with the R&D carried out in other initiatives such as the LhARA project. This requires online, shot-by-shot measurement of beam position, profile and intensity which shall all be achieved by a single monitor.    


The Fellow will have access to the wide-ranging EuPRAXIA-DN training program which will include several international schools and workshops on plasma accelerator science and technology, as well as complementary skills. They will be registered for their PhD at the University of Liverpool and have access to the postgraduate lecture program at the Cockcroft Institute.

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