Collimating individual beamlets in pencil beam scanning proton therapy, a dosimetric investigation

Jason Holmes, Jiajian Shen, Samir H. Patel, William W. Wong, Robert L. Foote, Martin Bues, Wei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this work is to investigate collimating individual proton beamlets from a dosimetric perspective and to introduce a new device concept, the spot scanning aperture (SSA). The SSA consists of a thin aperture with a small cylindrical opening attached to a robotics system, which allows the aperture to follow and align with individual beamlets during spot delivery. Additionally, a range shifter is incorporated (source-side) for treating shallow depths. Since the SSA trims beamlets spot by spot, the patient-facing portion of the device only needs to be large enough to trim a single proton beamlet. The SSA has been modelled in an open-source Monte-Carlo-based dose engine (MCsquare) to characterize its dosimetric properties in water at depths between 0 and 10 cm while varying the following parameters: the aperture material, thickness, distance to the water phantom, distance between the aperture and attached range shifter, and the aperture opening radius. Overall, the SSA greatly reduced spot sizes for all the aperture opening radii that were tested (1 – 4 mm), especially in comparison with the extended range shifter (ranger shifter placed at 30 cm from patient); greater than 50% when placed less than 10 cm away from the patient at depths in water less than 50 mm. The peak to entrance dose ratio and linear energy transfer was found to depend on the thickness of the aperture and therefore the aperture material. Neutron production rates were also investigated and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1031340
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022


  • dynamic collimation
  • lateral dose resolution
  • lateral penumbra
  • pencil beam scanning (PBS)
  • spot size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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