Reduced calibration curve for proton computed tomography
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The pCT deals with relatively thick targets like the human head or trunk. Thus, the fidelity of pCT as a tool for proton therapy planning depends on the accuracy of physical formulas used for proton interaction with thick absorbers. Although the actual overall accuracy of the proton stopping power in the Bethe-Bloch domain is about 1%, the analytical calculations and the Monte Carlo simulations with codes like TRIM/SRIM, MCNPX and GEANT4 do not agreed with each other. A tentative to validate the codes against experimental data for thick absorbers bring some difficulties: only a few data is available and the existing data sets have been acquired at different initial proton energies, and for different absorber materials. In this work we compare the results of our Monte Carlo simulations with existing experimental data in terms of reduced calibration curve, i.e. the range - energy dependence normalized on the range scale by the full projected CSDA range for given initial proton energy in a given material, taken from the NIST PSTAR database, and on the final proton energy scale - by the given initial energy of protons. This approach is almost energy and material independent. The results of our analysis are important for pCT development because the contradictions observed at arbitrary low initial proton energies could be easily scaled now to typical pCT energies. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.