The integrating ion imager: A device for determining heavy ion doses during irradiations

J. C. Sutherland, D. C. Monteleone, J. G. Trunk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have designed and built an integrating ion imaging system (I3) that records the spatial distribution of the dose of heavy ions incident on samples irradiated at the radiobiology beamline of the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The images of dose are integrated over the duration of the exposure. Unlike the images formed on X-ray film, these images are linear with the incident dose. Heavy ions are incident on a phosphor that is located just behind the sample position. Visible light emitted from the phosphor is collected by a lens and focused onto a scientific grade charge coupled device (CCD) cooled to about -45°C. The phosphor and CCD camera are integral parts of a modular sample holder designed for irradiating molecular samples, which is easily mounted on the sample platform of the beamline. The imager can be adapted to other types of samples. The present CCD image is digitized to 14 bits (16,384 intensity levels), but the dynamic range is extended by adjusting the aperture of the CCD camera lens. Digital images from the CCD are routinely transferred over the BNL local area network for archival storage on a UNIX server, from which they can be opened from any authorized computer with access to the Internet. Images obtained with no sample in place record the dose at all points on the target field. When a sample is in place, an image of the sample appears providing its exact location with respect to fiducial marks recorded for all images. Areas surrounding the image of the sample are used in comparison with companion no-sample images to get exact doses over the sample. The contrast mechanism responsible for image formation is the shift along the Bragg curve resulting from loss of energy of the ions as they pass through the sample - not from a change in ion flux reaching the phosphor. The sharpness of the images formed with the DNA samples we have recorded indicates that neither scattering of the incident heavy ions or the generation of secondary ions contribute significantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-140
Number of pages4
JournalPhysica Medica
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Sep 17 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Charge coupled device
  • Heavy Ions
  • Radiation dose
  • Space radiobiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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