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discovered 02_2012

discovered 02.12 FOCUS WWW.Hzdr.DE Instead of using large, heavyweight electromagnets that provide a static magnetic field on the order of one tesla, the researchers used smaller, more lightweight magnetic coils that generate fields of up to 25 tesla. These pulsed fields are short-lived – sometimes for all but a few milliseconds – and are constantly being regenerated at very brief intervals. Since the laser light – and with it the protons – are also given off as pulses, a static magnetic field is not needed. With the help of magnet coils that were developed and constructed especially for this purpose in the HZDR High Field Lab, the scientists were now able to demonstrate that the idea does in fact work by successfully bundling, aligning, and regulating the energy of the proton beam. With a nod to the HZDR‘s long-standing expertise in the area of magnetic technologies, Thomas Herrmannsdörfer, one of the physicists who is working in the High Field Lab points out that “for us scientists, the magnetic coils that are being used have a long-standing tradition and the energy supply is already at a mature stage, as well.“ The greater the magnetic field, the less space you need to redirect the protons. Thereby, the overall size of the entire setup decreases exponentially. According to Herrmannsdörfer, another important advantage of this new technology is its very low energy consumption, making it “a cost-effective alternative to existing facilities.“ The HZDR has already filed a patent application for this research. Now, the scientists are setting out to test the extent to which their pulsed magnets can be linked up to conventional accelerator technology. A corresponding setup is expected to be realized at the University Hospital Dresden in the next few years. Should the researchers succeed, this would indeed be an important step towards cost-effective proton therapy facilities, which could subsequently be set up in clinics all over the world. LITERATURE T. Burris-Mog et al.: “Laser accelerated protons captured and transported by a pulse power solenoid”, in Phys. Rev. ST Accel. Beams, vol. 14 (2011), p. 121301 (DOI: 10.1103/ PhysRevSTAB.14.121301) S. D. Kraft et al.: “Dose dependent biological damage of tumour cells by laser-accelerated proton beams”, in New Journal of Physics, vol. 12 (2010 | DOI: 1088/1367- 2630/12/8/085003) GSI Heavy Ion Therapy Launched in 1993, the Heavy Ion Therapy pilot project is a GSI partnership collaborative between the Darmstadt Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, the HZDR, the Heidelberg University Hospital’s Department of Radiology, and the Heidelberg-based German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). As part of the pilot project, since 1997, more than 400 cancer patients (primarily with tumors of the base of skull region) have been treated. Years of research and GSI’s large ion beam accelerator facility provide the basis for this new form of cancer therapy. Radiation treatments concluded in summer 2008 and were moved to Heidelberg University Hospital, where the Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center (HIT) has since picked up and continued operations. Each year, more than 1,000 patients are expected to be treated at the HIT. CONTACT _Institute of Radiation Physics at HZDR Prof. Ulrich Schramm _Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory at HZDR Dr. Thomas Herrmannsdörfer _OncoRay – National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology Prof. Michael Baumann Contact: Franziska Hübner Inside view of the GSI-developed five-meter-long linear accelerator for the Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center. Image credit: GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research/G. Otto Link to short film clip illustrating how proton beam therapy works.