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Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society

Distinguished Lectures

Dr. Martin Grossmann

Paul Scherrer Institut


Recent Developments in Protontherapy – Technology for the Benefit of Patients

The use of proton beams for radiotherapy has been proposed in the 1940s and patients have been treated with this modality since the 1960s. With the advent of more powerful computers for therapy planning and fast electronics for sophisticated controls in the 1990s it became possible to even better exploit the therapeutic advantage of protons by employing magnetic pencil beam scanning. While pioneering work was carried out in physics research laboratories therapy facilities have now become commercially available by a number of vendors. Technology-driven research is ongoing to further improve the quality of protontherapy and make it available to a larger number of patients.

The talk will give an overview of the development of protontherapy and illustrate how therapeutic innovations have been driven by technological progress.  Current research topics like ultra-high dose rate beam delivery (“FLASH”) and approaches to compensate the effect of organ motion will be presented.


Martin Grossmann has worked in High Energy Physics at CERN and in Muon Physics at PSI before joining the Center for Protontherapy CPT there in 1995. He programmed the therapy control system for the world’s first pencil beam scanning gantry which started clinical operations in 1996. For many years he lead the IT & Electronics group at CPT and was in charge of control and safety systems for several PSI built treatment rooms. He is now Senior Technical Advisor at CPT.

Martin Grossmann is chair of CANPS (2018-2021), member of NPSS ADCOM (since 2017) and member of RISC (2017-2019). He has been actively involved in the organization of the recent editions of the IEEE NPSS Real Time Conference.

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