Very high energy electron (VHEE) beams have been proposed as an alternative radiotherapy modality to megavoltage photons; they penetrate deeply without significant scattering in inhomogeneous tissue because of their high relativistic inertia. However, the depth dose distribution of a single, collimated VHEE beam is quasi-uniform, which can lead to healthy tissue being overexposed. This can be largely overcome by focusing the VHEE beam to a small spot. Here we present experiments to demonstrate focusing as a means of concentrating dose into small volumetric elements inside a target. We find good agreement between measured dose distributions and Monte Carlo simulations. Focused radiation beams could be used to precisely target tumours or hypoxic regions of a tumour, which would enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy. The development of new accelerator technologies may provide future compact systems for delivering these focused beams to tumours, a concept that can also be extended to X-rays and hadrons.
- experimental study
- very high energy electron beams
- accelerator technologies