Technical Note: Using experimentally determined proton spot scanning timing parameters to accurately model beam delivery time

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To accurately model the beam delivery time (BDT) for a synchrotron-based proton spot scanning system using experimentally determined beam parameters.


A model to simulate the proton spot delivery sequences was constructed, and BDT was calculated by summing times for layer switch, spot switch, and spot delivery. Test plans were designed to isolate and quantify the relevant beam parameters in the operation cycle of the proton beam therapy delivery system. These parameters included the layer switch time, magnet preparation and verification time, average beam scanning speeds in x- and y-directions, proton spill rate, and maximum charge and maximum extraction time for each spill. The experimentally determined parameters, as well as the nominal values initially provided by the vendor, served as inputs to the model to predict BDTs for 602 clinical proton beam deliveries. The calculated BDTs (TBDT) were compared with the BDTs recorded in the treatment delivery log files (TLog): Δt = TLog−TBDT.


The experimentally determined average layer switch time for all 97 energies was 1.91 s (ranging from 1.9 to 2.0 s for beam energies from 71.3 to 228.8 MeV), average magnet preparation and verification time was 1.93 ms, the average scanning speeds were 5.9 m/s in x-direction and 19.3 m/s in y-direction, the proton spill rate was 8.7 MU/s, and the maximum proton charge available for one acceleration is 2.0 ± 0.4 nC. Some of the measured parameters differed from the nominal values provided by the vendor. The calculated BDTs using experimentally determined parameters matched the recorded BDTs of 602 beam deliveries (Δt = −0.49 ± 1.44 s), which were significantly more accurate than BDTs calculated using nominal timing parameters (Δt = −7.48 ± 6.97 s).


An accurate model for BDT prediction was achieved by using the experimentally determined proton beam therapy delivery parameters, which may be useful in modeling the interplay effect and patient throughput. The model may provide guidance on how to effectively reduce BDT and may be used to identifying deteriorating machine performance.

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