Open Access Open Badges Research

Dosimetric precision of an ion beam tracking system

Christoph Bert1*, Alexander Gemmel1, Nami Saito1, Naved Chaudhri1, Dieter Schardt1, Marco Durante1, Gerhard Kraft1 and Eike Rietzel12

Author Affiliations

1 GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH, Abteilung Biophysik, Planckstraße 1, 64291 Darmstadt, Germany

2 Siemens AG, Healthcare Sector, Imaging & Therapy, Particle Therapy, Hofmannstr. 26, 91052 Erlangen, Germany

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Radiation Oncology 2010, 5:61  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-5-61

Published: 30 June 2010



Scanned ion beam therapy of intra-fractionally moving tumors requires motion mitigation. GSI proposed beam tracking and performed several experimental studies to analyse the dosimetric precision of the system for scanned carbon beams.


A beam tracking system has been developed and integrated in the scanned carbon ion beam therapy unit at GSI. The system adapts pencil beam positions and beam energy according to target motion.

Motion compensation performance of the beam tracking system was assessed by measurements with radiographic films, a range telescope, a 3D array of 24 ionization chambers, and cell samples for biological dosimetry. Measurements were performed for stationary detectors and moving detectors using the beam tracking system.


All detector systems showed comparable data for a moving setup when using beam tracking and the corresponding stationary setup. Within the target volume the mean relative differences of ionization chamber measurements were 0.3% (1.5% standard deviation, 3.7% maximum). Film responses demonstrated preserved lateral dose gradients. Measurements with the range telescope showed agreement of Bragg peak depth under motion induced range variations. Cell survival experiments showed a mean relative difference of -5% (-3%) between measurements and calculations within the target volume for beam tracking (stationary) measurements.


The beam tracking system has been successfully integrated. Full functionality has been validated dosimetrically in experiments with several detector types including biological cell systems.