Physics & Astronomy ETDs

Publication Date



Charged hadron beams have been investigated for use in radiation therapy of cancer since the 1940s due to their unique potential to place tightly conformal radiation doses deep inside tissue. This is achieved by exploiting the phenomenon of the so-called Bragg peak. In both research and clinical settings, fast and accurate radiation calculations play a crucial role in charged hadron therapy physics. Unfortunately, physicists are often faced with the fundamental trade off of speed versus accuracy in their calculations. This dissertation addresses this trade off by presenting three computational physics methods for specific and general charged hadron beam therapy calculations. In this dissertation the pseudo-Monte Carlo method of track repeating is adapted for fast calculations of linear energy transfer (LET) and for fast estimation of dose in the peripheral regions of the target volume (i.e. secondary dose estimation). Additionally, the first proof-of-concept framework for carrying out massively distributed parallel Monte Carlo calculations for radiation therapy using cloud computing is presented. Performance and accuracy assessments of each calculation method are also presented.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Advisor

Luan, Shuang

Second Advisor

Holzscheiter, Michael

First Committee Member (Chair)

Heintz, Philip

Second Committee Member

Bassalleck, Bernd

Third Committee Member

Dunlap, David

Project Sponsors

National Science Foundation




Hadron beams--Measurement, Cancer--Radiotherapy, Linear energy transfer--Measurement, Medical physics, Monte Carlo method.

Document Type