Physics in medicine and biology

Characterization of a scintillating GEM detector with low energy x-rays.

PMID 18854612


A two-dimensional position-sensitive dosimetry system based on a scintillating gas detector is being developed with the aim of using it for pre-treatment verification of dose distributions in charged particle therapy. The dosimetry system consists of a chamber filled with an Ar/CF(4) scintillating gas mixture, inside which two cascaded gas electron multipliers (GEMs) are mounted. A GEM is a thin kapton foil with copper cladding structured with a regular pattern of sub-mm holes. In such a system, light quanta are emitted by the scintillating gas mixture during the electron avalanches in the GEM holes when radiation traverses the detector. The light intensity distribution is proportional to the energy deposited in the detector's sensitive volume by the beam. In the present work, we investigated the optimization of the scintillating GEM detector light yield. The light quanta are detected by means of a CCD camera or a photomultiplier tube coupled to a monochromator. The GEM charge signal is measured simultaneously. We have found that with 60 microm diameter double conical GEM holes, a brighter light signal and a higher electric signal are obtained than with 80 microm diameter holes. With an Ar + 8% CF(4) volume concentration, the highest voltage across the GEMs and the largest light and electric signals were reached. Moreover, we have found that the emission spectrum of Ar/CF(4) is independent of (1) the voltages applied across the GEMs, (2) the x-ray beam intensity and (3) the GEM hole diameter. On the other hand, the ratio of Ar to CF(4) peaks in the spectrum changes when the concentration of the latter gas is varied.

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Carbon tetrafluoride, 99.9%