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Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society

Distinguished Lectures

Dr. Patrick Le Du

Senior Scientific Advisor Institut National de Physique Nucleaire et de Physique des Particules, France


Application of Fundamental Physics Innovative Techniques and Tools to Other Fields

This is the first of a set of three lectures that have the objective of discussing technology transfer from basic research in High Energy Physics to practical applications. The lectures can be optimized as single ‘lectures’ or combined/extended as ‘summer school’ type lectures. Technology transfer needs to be promoted actively outside the fundamental physics community for the benefit of society. High Energy Physics is not only hunting the Higgs, but has some experience in technology transfer. It is not simple and need a very ‘open minded’ point of view. It can help attract a new generation of young students. Understanding the problems between collaborative partners is essential. Medical doctors need to be educated about new technologies; physicists are sometime arrogant by thinking that they already have the final solution and forgetting the reality of the medical clinical world; and for industrial and commercial companies, this is always a financial concern at the end. Successful technology transfer can result in an extension of established applications and an improvement of current performance levels and finally a more beneficial cost/benefit ratio.

This lecture is intended to give a flavor of the value of Particle Physics: can we use the state-of-the-art technologies, tools and techniques developed for fundamental physics experiments in the field of High Energy Physics (HEP) for other applications of interest to society?

High energy and particle physics has considerable acquired knowledge, expertise and resources that can, when transferred in a realistic way, significantly impact other fields of applications like the practice of medical imaging for diagnostic and therapy, safeguarding homeland security, environmental sciences and severe nuclear accident monitoring.

This overview introductory talk “from basic science to the human reality” intends to show how successful technology transfer between fundamental research in Particle Physics and other fields of applications can be achieved using specific examples.

Using as input the recent advance of HEP state-of-the-art techniques and tools in detectors developments like solid-state and gaseous detectors, calorimeters, photodetectors, read-out electronics and simulations, this talk will provide examples of some direct applications in medical and molecular imaging like Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Computed Tomography (CT), X-Ray imaging and many others.

Innovative Concepts in Electronics and Data Acquisition for Biomedical Applications

This is the second of a set of three lectures that have the objective of discussing technology transfer from basic research in High Energy Physics to practical applications. They can be optimized as single ‘lectures’ or combined/extended as ‘summer school’ type lectures. This overview interdisciplinary talk has the main purpose of demonstrating how the HEP development and evolution of front end, no dead-time, low noise electronics, of parallel data read-out, of real-time selection of events, and of terabit data networking (DAQ) and on-line processing farms can be use to drastically improve the performance and efficiency of medical imaging devices like the next generation of Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The first part of the presentation will introduce the generic architectural model of future large colliding-beam experiments like the future Linear Colliders (ILC/CLIC) and its main features like the software trigger concept. An example of possible implementation will be shown using the new Advance Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA) standard. Then, it will discuss how these innovative ideas, tools, and techniques of the modern architectural concept in data acquisition can be applied in two particular applications of the future: the whole-body Time-Of-Flight Positron Emission Tomography (TOF-PET) for tumor diagnostics, and Hadron therapy In-Beam PET for cancer treatment.

Challenges of Particle Imaging for Hadron Therapy

This is the last of a set of three lectures that have the objective of discussing technology transfer from basic research in High Energy Physics to practical applications. They can be optimized as single ‘lectures’ or combined/extended as ‘summer school ‘ type lectures. Treatment of cancer tumor by particles like protons or light ions is now becoming very common using hadron therapy accelerators. However, the patient dose optimization, delivery, and monitoring during the treatment are some of the main issues of this technique. The scope of this lecture is to summarize the « state of the art » of technology developments imposed by the various needs and constraints associated with the real-time dosimetry measurement and control around the patient. It will be illustrated by some R&D developments coming mainly from the High Energy Physics (HEP) community. This presentation will cover various topics including detection and tracking of organ motion, advanced technologies for a dedicated in-beam hadron PET for dose quantification, and recent developments in Proton Computed Tomography.

Radiation therapy is one of the cornerstones of modern cancer treatment. With increasing frequency, more than 50 % of tumor patients are irradiated, either as the exclusive form of treatment or in combination with other modalities, like surgery or chemotherapy. The central challenge of radiotherapy is to destroy the tumor completely, while saving the surrounding healthy tissue. In some delicate therapeutic cases, e.g. for compact, deep-seated, radio-resistant tumors growing in close vicinity to organs at risk, these objectives cannot be reached by the state-of-the-art radiotherapy technology that relies on hard photon or electron beams delivered by compact electron linear accelerators. Therefore, proton and light ion (e.g. carbon) beams have become more and more important due to their favorable physical and radiobiological properties. With a growing number of facilities in operation, the last five years have seen the development of new accelerator systems, advances in beam delivery and dose monitoring techniques, and increased clinical applications. The most significant recent advance in proton therapy has been the implementation of scanning techniques, in which a narrow proton beam is scanned throughout the target volume. This ability to “paint” the dose has opened up the possibility of performing intensity-modulated proton therapy. Proton Computed Tomography (PCT) has the potential to improve the accuracy of dose calculations for proton treatment planning, and will also be useful for pretreatment verification of patient positioning relative to the proton beam. Another innovative possible future development could be online imaging during proton beam delivery, enabling real-time adjustment of treatment.


photo of Dr. Patrick Le Du

Dr. Patrick Le Du is the Senior Scientific Advisor for promoting multidisciplinary actions at IN2P3-CNRS, Lyon, France (Institut National de Physique Nucleaire et de Physique des Particules), and was a senior experimental physicist at the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) from 1969 to 2007. He received his PhD in 1973. He was involved as a CEA-Saclay group leader in many High Energy Physics particle accelerator experiments at CERN (PS, SPS-NA3, LEP-OPAL, LHC-ATLAS),SSC(SDC) and FNAL-Tevatron (DO). He is an expert in instrumentation for large experimental systems, including wire chambers (MWPC), photodetectors and timing detectors (TOF), and read out electronics (Trigger and Data Acquisition). Since 2002, he has been a Scientific advisor of CEA and IN2P3 for technology transfer between fundamental physics instrumentation and biomedical imaging. He has chaired many multidisciplinary conferences and workshops, including the IEEE NPSS Real Time 1997 Beaune Conference, and was General Chair of the first non-North American IEEE NSS-MIC in 2000 in Lyon. He is an elected member of the Administrative Committee (AdCom) of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Physics Sciences Society (NPSS) as Transnational Committee Chair and is Vice-Chair of the Radiation Instrumentation Technical Committee (RITC).

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