Dejan Trbojevic, an accelerator physicist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, has developed a new design, and submitted a patent application, for compact clinical particle accelerators that should help bring down in price these exceedingly expensive devices. By using smaller magnets to focus the particle beam, it is believed that the gross weight of a clinical accelerator can be reduced by 100 fold, leading to all kinds of savings from initial cost, to installation and maintenance.
Trbojevic’s design makes use of fixed-field magnets, as opposed to the much larger and more complex variable magnets used at most existing particle-therapy facilities. In this design, the beam is transferred for the whole energy range without the need for any changes in the magnets. Additionally, each of the magnets performs two functions: bending the particle beam along the particle path, and either focusing or defocusing the beam for precision particle delivery.
“Protons or carbon ions with a wide range of energies can be transported precisely through the small combined-function magnets,” Trbojevic said. “These magnets provide extremely strong focusing and control of the beam positions.
“Because these magnets are so compact, the weight of the entire gantry can be about 100 times less than it would be with the variable magnet design,” he said. As an example, a 160-ton gantry made from conventional magnets would weigh about 1.5 tons using Trbojevic’s design. Even with equipment needed to keep the superconducting magnets cool, the particle delivery system would still me more compact and economical than existing designs.
Click on video below to start playing a short intro to the technology by Dejan Trbojevic:
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