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200 MeV proton radiography studies with a hand phantom using a prototype proton CT scanner.

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Proton radiography has applications in patient alignment and verification procedures for proton beam radiation therapy. In this paper, we report an experiment which used 200 MeV protons to generate proton energy-loss and scattering radiographs of a hand phantom. The experiment used the first-generation proton computed tomography (CT) scanner prototype, which was installed on the research beam line of the clinical proton synchrotron at Loma Linda University Medical Center. It was found that while both radiographs displayed anatomical details of the hand phantom, the energy-loss radiograph had a noticeably higher resolution. Nonetheless, scattering radiography may yield more contrast between soft and bone tissue than energy-loss radiography, however, this requires further study. This study contributes to the optimization of the performance of the next-generation of clinical proton CT scanners. Furthermore, it demonstrates the potential of proton imaging (proton radiography and CT), which is now within reach of becoming available as a new, potentially low-dose medical imaging modality.

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