Proton-counting radiography for proton therapy: a proof of principle using CMOS APS technology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • G Poludniowski
  • T Anaxagoras
  • J Nieto-Camero
  • D J Parker
  • P M Evans

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Centre for Vision Speech and Signal Processing, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK.


Despite the early recognition of the potential of proton imaging to assist proton therapy (Cormack 1963 J. Appl. Phys. 34 2722), the modality is still removed from clinical practice, with various approaches in development. For proton-counting radiography applications such as computed tomography (CT), the water-equivalent-path-length that each proton has travelled through an imaged object must be inferred. Typically, scintillator-based technology has been used in various energy/range telescope designs. Here we propose a very different alternative of using radiation-hard CMOS active pixel sensor technology. The ability of such a sensor to resolve the passage of individual protons in a therapy beam has not been previously shown. Here, such capability is demonstrated using a 36 MeV cyclotron beam (University of Birmingham Cyclotron, Birmingham, UK) and a 200 MeV clinical radiotherapy beam (iThemba LABS, Cape Town, SA). The feasibility of tracking individual protons through multiple CMOS layers is also demonstrated using a two-layer stack of sensors. The chief advantages of this solution are the spatial discrimination of events intrinsic to pixelated sensors, combined with the potential provision of information on both the range and residual energy of a proton. The challenges in developing a practical system are discussed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2569-81
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2014


  • Cyclotrons, Metals, Oxides, Phantoms, Imaging, Proton Therapy, Scintillation Counting, Semiconductors, Tomography, X-Ray Computed, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't