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Cerenkov emission induced by external beam radiation stimulates molecular fluorescence

By Johan Axelsson, Scott C. Davis, David J. Gladstone and Brian W. Pogue

Abstract

Purpose: Cerenkov emission is induced when a charged particle moves faster than the speed of light in a given medium. Both x-ray photons and electrons produce optical Cerenkov photons in everyday radiation therapy of tissue; yet, this phenomenon has never been fully documented. This study quantifies the emissions and also demonstrates that the Cerenkov emission can excite a fluorophore, protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), embedded in biological phantoms.Methods: In this study, Cerenkov emission induced by radiation from a clinical linear accelerator is investigated. Biological mimicking phantoms were irradiated with x-ray photons, with energies of 6 or 18 MV, or electrons at energies 6, 9, 12, 15, or 18 MeV. The Cerenkov emission and the induced molecular fluorescence were detected by a camera or a spectrometer equipped with a fiber optic cable.Results: It is shown that both x-ray photons and electrons, at MeV energies, produce optical Cerenkov photons in tissue mimicking media. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the Cerenkov emission can excite a fluorophore, protoporphyrin IX (PpIX), embedded in biological phantoms.Conclusions: The results here indicate that molecular fluorescence monitoring during external beam radiotherapy is possible

Topics: Medical Physics Letters
Publisher: American Association of Physicists in Medicine
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:3139507
Provided by: PubMed Central
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