Optimization of Medical Accelerators

OMA Fellows join forces to improve cancer treatment beam diagnostics

Last month OMA Fellows Jacinta Yap
(University of Liverpool) and our Early Stage Researcher Navrit Bal (ASI),
along with QUASAR members Roland
Schnuerer and Hao Zhang from the Cockcroft
Institute visited the Clatterbridge Cancer
Centre (CCC), UK to meet with the Head of
the Douglas Cyclotron, Dr Andrzej Kacperek.
The CCC is treating patients with ocular
tumours since 1989.

Building on already existing collaboration with
CCC, the addition of ASI (Amsterdam
Scientific Instruments) to this group
represents another link between partners
within our OMA network. This meeting marks
the first of multiple intended visits, to carry
out joint measurements with the 60 MeV
proton therapy beamline.
Discussion during the visit included the
current status of GEANT4 beamline
simulations and the VELO setup. Further, an
initial schedule to take measurements with
VELO & Medipix3 with the CCC clinical beam
was proposed. As both systems are designed
by the same team at CERN, this example
shows how both devices are applicable to be
transferred from a fundamental research
environment to a clinical facility.

Navrit’s project involves characterization and improvement of the Medipix3 chip, the
readout and control software and a variety of
applications using the chip. Typically x-rays
and electrons are used with less than 0.1% of
the energy than the protons in CCC and
significantly lower flux which presents some
challenges.
The Medipix3 chip is meant for very different
applications. Thus, it enables direct beam
profile measurements complementary to
VELO measuring the beam halo. Additionally,
it may be possible to measure the Bragg peak
of the beam with the same equipment at
micro meter resolution instead of mm or cm.
These types of measurements have not been
attempted before with Medipix3 detectors. If
they work as expected, this would be a jump
in the level of quality assurance for the CCC.
The group is looking forward to first
measurements which are estimated to be
performed between thisspring and summer.

structural determination of micron-sized crystal

A Rare Lysozyme Crystal Form Solved Using Highly Redundant Multiple Electron Diffraction Datasets from Micron-Sized Crystals 

Researchers from Stockholm University solved the structure of lysozyme from micro-crystals with a rare crystal form using ASI’s sensitive detector technology. Due to the detectors’ high read-out speed, in a short time, multiple datasets could be collected improving the final model quality.

structural determination of micron-sized crystal

SUMMARY

Recent developments of novel electron diffraction techniques have shown to be powerful for determination of atomic resolution structures from micron and nano-sized crystals, too small to be studied by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. In this work, the structure of a rare lysozyme polymorph is solved and refined using continuous rotation MicroED data and standard X-ray crystallographic software. Data collection was performed on a standard 200 kV transmission electron microscope (TEM) using a highly sensitive detector with a short readout time.

The data collection is fast (3 min per crystal), allowing multiple datasets to be rapidly collected from a large number of crystals. We show that merging data from 33 crystals significantly improves not only the data completeness, overall I/s and the data redundancy, but also the quality of the final atomic model. This is extremely useful for electron beam-sensitive crystals of low symmetry or with a preferred orientation on the TEM grid.

The full article can be found on the Science Direct website

Image courtesy of Xu et. al. Structure DOI: (10.1016/j.str.2018.02.015), Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Angstrom Scientific logo

Angstrom Scientific becomes new USA distributor

ASI is very pleased to announce that Angstrom Scientific, has been recently appointed the distributor of ASI’s products in the USA.

Founders Evan Slow and Bob Sommerville formed Angstrom Scientific in 2004, to focus on providing characterization solutions to nanotechnology researchers. As a distributor and manufacturer’s representative serving the Americas, Angstrom Scientific utilizes Evan and Bob’s combined 50+ years of experience in scientific equipment applications to help customers acquire the instrumentation that is best suited to their needs.

As a manufacturers’ representative, Angstrom Scientific is well positioned to provide not only sales support, but also product marketing support, and customer services including warranty program management, and applications and operator training. We are also set-up to supply spare parts and consumables for the products that we represent.

Their extensive sales experience of their team make Angstrom Scientific the ideal channel partner for the sales and distribution of ASI’s products, offering our customers the best service.

If you’re interested in knowing more, please contact our local representative Bob Sommerville.

ASI LynX detector Timepix3

ASI Obtains TIMEPIX3 License from CERN

Amsterdam, 20 December 2017

Amsterdam Scientific Instruments (ASI) has acquired a license from CERN for the TIMEPIX3 technology, a core component for ASI’s next generation hybrid pixel cameras. With the newly obtained license the company can now deliver the systems commercially.

ASI LynX detector Timepix3ASI is a spin-off from Nikhef, the Dutch institute of Particle Physics. Since its foundation in 2005, ASI is a licensee of MEDIPIX technologies and has been collaborating with Nikhef in the development and commercialization of hybrid pixel cameras based on MEDIPIX technology. TIMEPIX3 is the most recent result of a joint research effort of the MEDIPIX 3collaboration led by CERN.

The new TIMEPIX3 based cameras can be used in a wide range of applications varying from X-ray imaging, electron microscopy to particle track reconstruction.

Hans Brouwer, CEO of ASI, states:

“This license demonstrates a next step in the ongoing and fruitful collaboration between ASI and CERN. We are proud to be commercialization partner of CERN for MEDIPIX technology.”

About Amsterdam Scientific Instruments

ASI develops, manufactures and sells hybrid pixel cameras, which are deployed in experimental physics labs Argonne National Laboratory (USA) and Nikhef, and industry applications around the globe. ASI’s products are increasingly used in advanced electron microscopes, x-ray imaging systems and mass spectrometers.

About the MEDIPIX collaboration

MEDIPIX is a family of read-out chips for particle imaging and detection developed by the MEDIPIX Collaborations. It enables high-resolution, high-contrast, noise hit free images – making it unique for imaging applications. Hybrid pixel detector technology was initially developed to address the needs of particle tracking at the CERN LHC. The Medipix1 chip, which uses identical front-end circuitry to the Omega3 particle tracking chip, demonstrated the great potential for the technology outside of high-energy physics. To further develop this novel technology and take it into new scientific fields the Medipix2 Collaboration was started in 1999, the Medipix3 collaboration in 2005 and finally the Medipix4 collaboration in 2016.

About CERN

Physicists and engineers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to probe the fundamental laws of nature. CERN’s mission is: to provide a unique range of particle accelerators, to perform world-class research in fundamental physics, to unite people from all over the world, and to push the frontiers of science and technology, for the benefit of all. CERN’s Knowledge Transfer group engages with experts in science, technology and industry in order to create opportunities for the transfer of CERN’s technology and know-how.

Contacts

For more information please contact:

Mrs. Fei An Tjan

T: +31 20 592 2055

feian@amscins.com

Amsterdam Scientific Instruments B.V.

Science Park 105

1098 XG Amsterdam

The Netherlands

www.amscins.com

Spectral x-ray CT of bee

Medipix based detector heroes in NRC’s science article

Last week, Dorine Schenk from renowned Dutch newspaper NRC handelsblad wrote an article in the Scientific weekend special on the Timepix/Medipix based radiation detector that we have developed over the last few years in collaboration with Nikhef, and CERN. As the full article is originally published in Dutch, we’ve written a short piece on it in English:

Spectral x-ray CT of beeIn the article, Schenk, accompanied by Nikhef PHD Martin Fransen, investigates the use and benefits of our LynX 120 detector in real-life and real-time situations. Their journey starts in the Amsterdam Metro, where they measure the amount of cosmic particles that have penetrated the atmosphere, more than five meters of sand and two meters of concrete. Amazed by the amount of radiation still available in the subway, Fransen explains that Cosmic radiation consists of particles, especially atomic nuclei that fly from stars at high speed in the direction of the earth. They usually arise in powerful processes, such as when a star explodes at the end of its life.

Most of the particles in the subway tunnel come from the particle flow that occurs when an alien atomic nucleus arrives in the atmosphere and collides with molecules in the air. Here, charged particles such as electrons and their heavier counterparts create the muons, which then also collide with molecules in the air, creating an avalanche of particles. We measure that radiation on earth as an ever-present background radiation.

Originally, the measurement technique was not developed to measure cosmic radiation in the air, but for the LHC, the large particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva. There, protons (hydrogen cores) are shot at each other at a speed approaching the speed of light. This creates a large amount of particles in a fraction of a second. These are then measured with detectors using the Timepix and Medipix technology. By analyzing exactly which particles arise during the collisions, physicists hope to learn more about the world around us.

Practical application often results from this pure scientific research. Schenk already mentions the applications in medical research because it can measure X-rays quickly and with great accuracy, but our detectors have also proven to be highly effective in an array of other applications such as electron microscopy and mass spectrometry.

The next part of the article focuses on measurements done at Nikhef of a variety of dead insects. Although you can clearly see the density of the different bodyparts, in the medical world, only a few substances can be clearly distinguished; for example, calcium in your bones or a contrast fluid, such as iodine, that is inserted for research. The detector is therefore  ideal for various application in Industry, i.e. to determine the quality of a steel sheet. By looking at the different wavelengths of the radiation, errors and contaminations can be detected.

Els Koffeman, professor of instrumentation in particle physics, explains that she dreams of a scanner that makes a detailed picture, for example of your teeth. That information is sent to a 3D printer. He then manufactures a perfectly fitting crown or implant that can enter your mouth. Or you can put your broken arm in the hospital in a machine that makes a scan and a perfectly tailored splint for your print. The same should also be possible for objects: if something breaks, scan it and print a new part.

The current CT scanners only measure how many X-rays fall on the detector. The Medipix detector can also measure the energy of that radiation to bring more details to light. Moreover, the Medipix works a lot faster, so that you can zoom in during the scan. A doctor can then immediately see if she sees a tear somewhere, or that it is just a vein.

ASI and researchers at the Nikhef are working on a new CT scanner that makes better photos thanks to the smart Medipix detector with less X-rays, so that patients are exposed to less radiation. For this they work together with the FleX-ray Lab at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam. In a recent article on our news page you can read more about the official opening of the FleX-ray Lab. The researchers at the FleX-ray lab develop algorithms to process the data as quickly as possible with brute calculation. For this they use graphics cards that can calculate much more in parallel than other processors. Koffeman says: “Every light particle does its own thing and has its own pixel. Because they are not interdependent, you can count on them in parallel. That is the power of the Medipix: fast, smart pixels.”

Originally Medipix was developed for experiments in high-energy physics, such as in the particle accelerator LHC in Geneva. But now the detector has found its own niche outside of experimental physics. The technique has been further developed for use in CT scanners and other practical purposes as you can read here. Over the past few years, ASI has successfully sold a number of these detectors known as LynX – 1800 for X-ray and Chee-tah 1800 for electron microscopy.

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