Fully-organic flexible detectors for real-time dose monitoring during radio/proton therapy
Beatrice Fraboni a
a Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna, Via Berti Pichat 6/2, 40127 Bologna (IT).
Proceedings of Bioelectronic Interfaces: Materials, Devices and Applications (CyBioEl)
Limassol, Cyprus, 2024 October 22nd - 25th
Organizers: Eleni Stavrinidou and Achilleas Savva
Invited Speaker, Beatrice Fraboni, presentation 036
Publication date: 28th June 2024

The development of detectors for high energy photons, protons and heavy particles is a long-lasting research topic not only for fundamental applications but also, more recently, for medical applications in radio and hadron therapy. There is an increasing demand for sensors able to provide, ideally in-situ and in real-time, an accurate recording and mapping of the dose delivered during a treatment plan. The development of novel high performing, thin and flexible sensors for the detection of ionizing radiation in real-time at affordable costs is rapidly increasing, as the technology currently available still fails to address the requirements of large-area, conformability and portability, lightweight and low power operation.

Organic small molecules and polymers are promising active layers for advanced dosimetry purposes, as their mechanical features allow the development of devices able to adapt to complex contoured surfaces with outstanding portability (low power operation) and lightweight. They also provide the unique possibility to develop human-tissue-equivalent detectors, thanks to their density and composition, which makes them ideal candidates for medical dosimetry applications. Their low average atomic number and density, also grants a low absorption of the incoming radiation, making them extremely radiation-tolerant. The physical process of radiation detection for organic thin- film based detectors will be discussed in two different configurations: 1) the direct one, based on a simple planar device with an organic thin film as active conversion layer, and 2) the indirect one, based on a polysiloxane-based scintillating layer effectively coupled to an organic phototransistor (OPT).

We report on their performance under exposure to intense photons and MeV protons radiation fields and will discuss how to detect and exploit the energy absorbed both by the organic semiconducting layer and by the plastic substrate, allowing to extrapolate information on the irradiation history of the detector. A new kinetic model has been developed to describe the detector response mechanism, able to precisely reproduce the dynamic response of the device under photon/proton irradiation and to provide further insight into the physical processes controlling its response.

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