Transport and control of a laser-accelerated proton beam for application to radiobiology

Abstract : Particle acceleration by laser-plasma interaction is a promising alternative to conventional accelerators that could make future devices dedicated to protontherapy more compact. Extreme electric fields in the order of TV/m are created when an ultra-intense laser pulse is focused on a thin solid target with a thickness of a few micrometers, which generates a beam of highly energetic particles. The latter includes protons with energies up to about ten megaelectron-volts and characterised by a wide angular divergence and a broad energy spectrum.The goal of this thesis is to fully characterise a laser-based accelerator in order to produce a stable proton beam meeting the energy, charge and surface homogeneity requirements for radiobiological experiments. The design, realisation and implementation of a magnetic system made of permanent magnet quadrupoles were optimised beforehand through numerical simulations. It enables to obtain a beam with a shaped energy spectrum and with a uniform profile over a surface with a size adapted to the biological samples.Deferred and online dosimetry was setup to monitor the delivered output dose. For that purpose, a transmission ionisation chamber, previously calibrated absolutely on a medical proton accelerator, was used. Monte Carlo simulations enabled to compute the dose deposited into the samples. This compact system allows now to define a rigorous experimental protocol for in vitro radiobiological experiments. First experiments of cancer cell irradiation have been carried out, paving the way for the exploration of the effects of pulsed ionizing radiations at extremely high dose rates on living cells.
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Loann Pommarel. Transport and control of a laser-accelerated proton beam for application to radiobiology. Plasma Physics [physics.plasm-ph]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017SACLX001⟩. ⟨tel-01509051⟩

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