Comparing stochastic proton interactions simulated using TOPAS-nBio to experimental data from fluorescent nuclear track detectors

Citation:

TSA Underwood, W Sung, CH McFadden, SJ McMahon, DC Hall, AL McNamara, H Paganetti, GO Sawakuchi, and J Schuemann. 2017. “Comparing stochastic proton interactions simulated using TOPAS-nBio to experimental data from fluorescent nuclear track detectors.” Physics in Medicine and Biology, 8, 62: 3237. Publisher's Version

Abstract:

Whilst Monte Carlo (MC) simulations of proton energy deposition have been well-validated at the macroscopic level, their microscopic validation remains lacking. Equally, no gold-standard yet exists for experimental metrology of individual proton tracks. In this work we compare the distributions of stochastic proton interactions simulated using the TOPAS-nBio MC platform against confocal microscope data for Al2O3:C,Mg fluorescent nuclear track detectors (FNTDs). We irradiated $8\times 4\times 0.5$  mm3 FNTD chips inside a water phantom, positioned at seven positions along a pristine proton Bragg peak with a range in water of 12 cm. MC simulations were implemented in two stages: (1) using TOPAS to model the beam properties within a water phantom and (2) using TOPAS-nBio with Geant4-DNA physics to score particle interactions through a water surrogate of Al2O3:C,Mg. The measured median track integrated brightness (IB) was observed to be strongly correlated to both (i) voxelized track-averaged linear energy transfer (LET) and (ii) frequency mean microdosimetric lineal energy, $\overline{{{y}_{F}}}$ , both simulated in pure water. Histograms of FNTD track IB were compared against TOPAS-nBio histograms of the number of terminal electrons per proton, scored in water with mass-density scaled to mimic Al2O3:C,Mg. Trends between exposure depths observed in TOPAS-nBio simulations were experimentally replicated in the study of FNTD track IB. Our results represent an important first step towards the experimental validation of MC simulations on the sub-cellular scale and suggest that FNTDs can enable experimental study of the microdosimetric properties of individual proton tracks.

Last updated on 04/04/2017