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Variations in lithium target thickness and proton energy stability for the near-threshold 7Li(p,n)7Be accelerator-based BNCT

Variations in lithium target thickness and proton energy stability for the near-threshold 7Li(p,n)7Be accelerator-based BNCT

Physics in Medicine and Biology 52(3): 645-658

The usable range of thickness for the solid lithium target in the accelerator-based neutron production for BNCT via the near-threshold (7)Li(p,n)(7)Be reaction was investigated. While the feasibility of using a (7)Li-target with thickness equal to that which is required to slow down a mono-energetic 1.900 MeV incident proton to the 1.881 MeV threshold of the (7)Li(p,n)(7)Be reaction (i.e., t(min) = 2.33 microm) has already been demonstrated, dosimetric properties of neutron fields from targets greater than t(min) were assessed as thicker targets would last longer and offer more stable neutron production. Additionally, the characteristics of neutron fields generated by (7)Li(p,n)(7)Be for Gaussian incident protons with mean energy of 1.900 MeV were evaluated at a (7)Li-target thickness t(min). The main evaluation index applied in this study was the treatable protocol depth (TPD) which corresponds to the depth in an irradiated medium that satisfies the requirements of the adapted dose protocol. A maximum TPD (TPD(max)) was obtained for each irradiation condition from the relationship between the TPD and the thickness of boron dose enhancer (BDE) used. For a mono-energetic 1.900 MeV proton beam, the deepest TPD(max) of 3.88 cm was attained at the (7)Li-target thickness of t(min) and a polyethylene BDE of 1.10 cm. When the intended TPD for a BNCT clinical treatment is shallower than the deepest TPD(max), the usable (7)Li-target thickness would be between t(min) and an upper limit t(upper) whose value depends on the BDE thickness used. In terms of the effect of stability of the incident proton energy, Gaussian incident proton energies stable to within +/-10 keV of 1.900 MeV were found to be feasible for the neutron production via the near-threshold (7)Li(p,n)(7)Be reaction for BNCT provided that a suitable BDE is used.

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Accession: 050934016

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PMID: 17228111

DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/52/3/008

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