Simulation, design and construction of a gas electron multiplier for particle tracking
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The biological effects of charged particles is of interest in particle therapy, radiation protection and space radiation science and known to be dependent on both absorbed dose and radiation quality or LET. Microdosimetry is a technique which uses a tissue equivalent gas to simulate microscopic tissue sites of the order of cellular dimensions and the principles of gas ionization devices to measure deposited energy. The Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) has been used since 1997 for tracking particles and for the determination of particle energy. In general, the GEM detector works in either tracking or energy deposition mode. The instrument proposed here is a combination of both, for the purpose of determining the energy deposition in simulated microscopic sites over the charged particle range and in particular at the end of the range where local energy deposition increases in the so-called Bragg-peak region. The detector is designed to track particles of various energies for 5 cm in one dimension, while providing the particle energy deposition every 0.5 cm of its track. The reconfiguration of the detector for different particle energies is very simple and achieved by adjusting the pressure of the gas inside the detector and resistor chain. In this manner, the detector can be used to study various ion beams and their dose distributions to tissues. Initial work is being carried out using an isotopic source of alpha particles and this thesis will describe the construction of the GEM-based detector, computer modelling of the expected gas-gain and performance of the device as well as comparisons with experimentally measured data of segmented energy deposition.