Purpose: The authors previously reported successful luminescence imaging of water during proton irradiation and its application to range estimation. However, since the feasibility of this approach for carbon-ion irradiation remained unclear, the authors conducted luminescence imaging during carbon-ion irradiation and estimated the ranges. Methods: The authors placed a pure-water phantom on the patient couch of a carbon-ion therapy system and measured the luminescence images with a high-sensitivity, cooled charge-coupled device camera during carbon-ion irradiation. The authors also carried out imaging of three types of phantoms (tap-water, an acrylic block, and a plastic scintillator) and compared their intensities and distributions with those of a phantom containing pure-water. Results: The luminescence images of pure-water phantoms during carbon-ion irradiation showed clear Bragg peaks, and the measured carbon-ion ranges from the images were almost the same as those obtained by simulation. The image of the tap-water phantom showed almost the same distribution as that of the pure-water phantom. The acrylic block phantoms luminescence image produced seven times higher luminescence and had a 13% shorter range than that of the water phantoms; the range with the acrylic phantom generally matched the calculated value. The plastic scintillator showed 15000 times higher light than that of water. Conclusions: Luminescence imaging during carbon-ion irradiation of water is not only possible but also a promising method for range estimation in carbon-ion therapy.
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