LEGACY An overview of ARDENT 2012-2015
Development of compact neutron spectrometer
Participating in the ARDENT network was an exciting experience for me, not only because of the professional skills I gained during the three years but also due to the numerous opportunities I was offered to work with researchers in an international environment.
Positioned at the Radiation Protection Group at CERN, I was engaged in the development of a novel neutron spectrometer. The new device, called SpectroGEM, is able to measure a wide energy range of the neutron spectrum in a short single acquisition. It was designed via Monte Carlo simulations and constructed with a Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) as the read-out detector, specifically conceived for this application. Based on its planar design, the SpectroGEM can be employed for investigating the direction and intensity of the neutron spectrum in work fields for radiation protection purposes: insufficiently shielded areas can be recognized and fixed.
The support I received within ARDENT has led to the completion of my PhD thesis in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) with the defence foreseen in January 2016.
Application of Medipix in radiation dosimetry
Being a part of the ARDENT project gave me the opportunity to work with the development of new radiation detectors for dosimetry. While being an established field, many of the current detectors have limitations when it comes to measurements in a mixed radiation field. A part of my work was dedicated to investigate how technology developed by the Medipix collaboration could be used for the next generation of dosimetry detectors. During the project I was also enrolled in a PhD programme at Mid Sweden University, which in combination with the training given by ARDENT greatly helped me to progress as a scientist. Participating in the ARDENT project also allowed me to build a personal network both with my colleagues in the project and with other scientists trough collaborations and conferences.
Application of gas detectors in radiation dosimetry
Application of Medipix for dosimetry of medical hadron beams
The 3 years I spent working as an ARDENT Early Stage Researcher have been a wonderful experience. I’ve mainly spent my time working on the evaluation of data from hybrid pixel detectors for interpreting mixed radiation fields, and on the development of a gas pixel detector we called the ‘Gempix’.
I’ve had the chance to meet and work with some fantastic people from all over the world. I’ve also presented at several major international conferences, and completed two secondments, one at the University of Wollongong in Australia, and the other at the University of Houston and Johnson Space Centre in Texas, USA.
Moving forward I plan to start a postdoc at the University of Houston working on the Timepix deployment onboard the International Space Station and NASA spacecraft.
Characterisation of TEPC for space and medical applications
The ARDENT program enabled me to gain interesting and valuable experience in Radiation Hardness Assurance of Electronic components and Microdosimetry. My work, based at Seibersdorf Laboratories during the course of ARDENT has primarily been on Numerical investigations and Experimental methods in assessing Radiation effects and damages in Commercial Off-The-Shelf Electronic components (COTS) especially for ESA (European Space Agency) Space Missions. I am also enrolled as a PhD student at Technical University of Graz through the support of ARDENT. I acquired skills and knowledge in Monte Carlo simulations - using FLUKA and Geant4, for studying the shielding performance of different materials and configurations. I took part in experiment campaigns to characterize Total Ionizing Dose (TID) and Single Event Effects (SEE) in commercial operational Amplifiers and Digital Isolators.
Thanks to ARDENT I had excellent experiences in interacting and learning from experts in Radiation Physics and related fields, especially applications of Microdosimetry and Nanodosimetry in Radiation therapy methods. I benefited greatly from the various conferences and training courses– both scientific and non-scientific including Business & Administration, I could attend during ARDENT program. By being based at IBA during my secondment, I could learn by close interaction about Product Management in Quality Assurance systems for Radiotherapy and thus got a wider perspective about the business applications of the scientific research. I also got interesting opportunities to experience more about local culture in Austria, in addition to travel to many places for experiments and training and this has certainly contributed to my overall development during the period.
Evaluation of advanced detectors for dosimetry in heterogenic phantoms
Mixed field radiation dosimetry
My main tasks were to characterize, put under test and analyse data from Timepix-based detectors in mixed radiation environments. I was involved in the calibration of the response of single Timepix and Timepix3 detectors to well-defined ions, the preparation, installation and monitoring of dedicated sensors inside the ATLAS and MOEDAL experiments at the LHC, and the extrapolation of all the know-how and technology from these studies to the analysis of data from other radiation fields (such as space weather or ion therapy).
ARDENT and the IEAP CTU allowed and encouraged me to carry out research in state-of-the-art facilities around the world (SPS, MOEDAL and ATLAS in CERN, the JINR Nuclotron in Russia, the Heidelberg Ion Therapy Center in Germany and Los Alamos Neutron Science Center in the United States) while meeting and working together with experienced researchers in workshops, conferences and training schools. I took part and was responsible for key stages of projects. I was also able to share and compare my results with people both related to and outside of my specific research area.
I was not enrolled in a PhD program during my 2-year contract with ARDENT, therefore, my next professional step is to look for a suitable position related to radiation detection where all the acquired experience in this period can be put into practice and enhanced. I have applied for several PhD programs, with confimration to come in January for contracts starting around mid-2016. In the meantime, I will go back to Colombia for personal matters, since I have not been there since I started with ARDENT.
Medipix for medicine and radiation safety
Over the three year course of ARDENT, I have had great opportunity to collaborate with researchers and scientists from all across the world. With the support of academics at my host institution in Prague, we have been able to further develop the BrachyView system into a working prototype for application in both LDR and HDR prostate brachytherapy. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first real medical application of a multiple Timepix detector assembly that goes beyond imaging-based techniques. By implementing the novel semiconductor technology as an intraoperative dynamic dose treatment planning system, patients can rest assured that the best therapeutic dose distribution is achieved with minimal risk to their critical organs.
Furthermore, ARDENT has exposed me to what is required in the arena of science outreach and engagement with the community. With several invited talks at academic institutions and industry groups, as well as with local high schools, I have been able to explore an interest in the communication aspect of scientific research. A particular highlight was my role in the organisation of the 4th Annual ARDENT Workshop hosted in Prague, and the visit of the school group from Bulli High in Wollongong.
Consequently, I am currently investigating career options in __________. One significant result of my time with ARDENT was the completion and submission of my PhD thesis to the University of Wollongong. It was submitted at the end of July, 2015 and is currently in the examination process.
Mixed field radiation dosimetry
My task within the ARDENT framework was focussed on measurements with Timepix detectors in mixed radiation fields. A major part of my work was related to finding algorithms for the event by event evaluation of detected tracks.
These algorithms and evaluation techniques are used in a broad range of applications including personnel dosimetry, radiation hardness studies, the measurement of ATLAS machine luminosity as well as the characterization of radiation fields at different positions within the ATLAS experiment and in space. I was testing different setups including neutron converters to enhance the detector responses to neutrons of very broad energy ranges.
I was involved in project planning including writing proposals, organizing the equipment, coordinating the participants, carrying out the experiment, performing data evaluation and summarizing the results in a report or a publication.
With the taken data I am working towards my PhD thesis, which I am doing together with the Erlangen Center for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP). I expect to finish in the next year (2016).
Thanks to the project I could work with cutting-edge technology and discuss results with world leading experts in neutron physics, detector development, dosimetry and radiation damage. During these three years I got the opportunity to present my work at conferences, to attend training courses and to participate at measurement in research facilities all over the world. I could perform measurements at the historically important research centers in Dubna, in Los Alamos and at CERN, with each of them creating a completely different atmosphere.
Seeing different cultures and various landscapes made a great impression on me and did not only help improving my scientific skills, but also shaped my personality.
The best thing about the project was the possibility to live and work in the city of Prague, with its magical flair especially in fall and spring, and to explore the beautiful Czech countryside from there.
Development of detector system for medical Quality Assurance
My research activities within the ARDENT project in the field of semiconductor detectors for Quality Assurance in Diagnostic and Radiotherapy were performed in collaboration with University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and IBA Dosimetry. Universities and companies are driven by different goals and being a bridge between the two worlds was a positive challenge for me to increase my awareness in the importance of doing research in our society.
In the frame of the project, the contact with the other ESRs was a great opportunity to learn topics not strictly related to my PhD project. I also increased my knowledge about open questions in the field of dosimetry in terms of detector development and the use of different technologies to face the same dosimetric topic.
It was a great pleasure for me to have shared scientific and personal ideas and gain new motivation after each meeting. During the three years it was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to perform measurements sessions at CERN, at the ANKA synchrotron at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and at the Philadelphia University hospital and to present my work at international conferences. All of this, it will help me continue my career in the field of medical physics.
Development of a new ion chamber technology for quality assurance in external beam radiotherapy
There is a brilliant Italian movie where a teacher and a school janitor travel back in time to year 1492. While travelling through the French countryside they end up meeting Leonardo da Vinci in a campsite. The three had a talk, and the travelers suddenly started to explain to the genius inventions and concepts unknown to the people of that time, such as the traffic light, the train, the electricity and a typical Italian card game called 'scopa'. They gave up quite soon with their purpose, due to actual difficulties in finding a common ground for the discussion, but at the end the last scene of the movie shows the genius driving a loud steam locomotive.
What is the link between an Italian comedy and the ARDENT project? Both of them talk about ideas and opportunities. Leonardo met by chance the two time travelers, and for them that was a great opportunity to exchange opinions and ideas. ARDENT has been a great carrier of ideas and an invaluable source of opportunities. To me, the best thing of a project such as ARDENT was undoubtedly the amount of different situations I could experience. Performing experiments in facilities equipped with cutting-edge technology, travelling all around the world, attending amazing conferences, getting trained and discussing with world leading experts. I could use these few words to make a summary of my research activity, but that was only a part of ARDENT, even if a large part, and it is already described with some details in my logbook.
Here I want to highlight the great chances I had in performing all those 'side activities' while being enrolled in a PhD program. Above all, the chance to meet different cultures, different lifestyles, shaped my mind and definitely made me a more thoughtful person.
ARDENT has been the ideal bridge between university studies and working career. The latest opportunity I got was to sign a permanent contract with IBA Dosimetry, where I will work as physicist for particle therapy dosimetry. Always trying to catch new ideas and new opportunities.
Development of Medipix-based radiation monitoring systems
It has been a great three years working in the ARDENT project. First and foremost thanks to the European commission, for the grant to run such a project with various partners around the world. Thanks to CERN and specifically Dr. Marco Silari for coordinating this project so well and giving all the young researchers in this project a flavor of how to run a project coordinating all the institutes.
Thanks to Jablotron Alarms where I was hosted during the project along with a secondment at CERN. It has been a great learning experience in scientific, managerial and soft skills. I have been part of developing a low cost radiation monitor in cooperation with the Czech Radiation Protection Institute (SURO). This specific work started off from scratch i.e idea phase, design, fabrication, testing etc. I also learned, in parallel, about the market feasibility, fit to market, cost studies, procurement etc. This was a great experience in terms of how to bring a product from idea to market.
Apart from this development, I also had the opportunity to work with the Medipix/Timepix-based educational device, which is out in the market as MX-10: Digital particle camera. This specific project gave insights into the market requirements and how a product can succeed/fail even if the product has strong scientific value behind it.
Overall, these three years has made me think out of the box, particularly looking at how to bring technology from the laboratory to society/market. The training opportunities gave lots of freedom to learn new things during the three years. Personally, I put in much effort in taking the learning back to society through outreach activities, which created strong networks in Europe and India. I believe these contacts can be built up for future development activities.
I will cherish these three years for the strong scientific, interpersonal, managerial, network and soft skills. Thanks ARDENT!
Thanks for your kind support and do not hesitate to contact me in the future for any information.
Development of neutron dosimetry and spectrometry with track detectors
My experience within the ARDENT project was a formidable adventure. It was actually exactly the type of job I was looking for when engaging myself as ESR 13. During my 3 years working in Italy, sharing my time within the MI.AM srl company and the Politecnico di Milano, I have learned a lot and gained an invaluable experience as a young international researcher. The PhD degree at the Politecnico allowed me to develop my skills from a scientific point of view and the Engineering job at the Mi.AM srl allowed me to get a concrete experience in a dynamic and highly profitable SME.
Living in northern Italy itself allowed me to discover a new culture, a new language, a new landscape, meet new friends and that was really amazing. With the ARDENT funding, our research group was also able to collaborate with other research groups around the globe. This allowed us to make immense progress in our research field. The collaborations are now still ongoing and I hope that the next generation of students from the Politecnico di Milano will be able to profit from this network.
Development of silicon microdosimeters for assessing the quality of hadrontherapy fields
My research activity in the framework of the ARDENT project concerns the field of microdosimetry and in particular the development of silicon microdosimeters for hadron therapy applications. By joining the nuclear measurements group of Politecnico di Milano, I was involved in testing the response of the silicon devices in different therapeutic fields. The experimental results acquired, in addition to numerical studies that I performed through FLUKA Monte Carlo simulations aimed at verifying the viability of silicon microdosimeters as alternative instruments to the TEPCs, the reference detectors for beam quality assessment.
One of my favorite parts during ARDENT has been travelling around the world for the experimental campaigns, meeting people with different scientific and cultural background, collaborating with them and experiencing different working conditions.
Nevertheless, being part of ARDENT has not only been about research, but a multitasking experience concerning knowledge and communication. Training has always been one of the priorities through the participation at many courses, schools, workshops and secondments. The outreach activities and conferences have also been very fruitful by learning how to communicate results addressing to various audiences (from scientists to general public and children).
The overall activity led to the compilation and submission of the PhD thesis, with the defense pending.
Development of detectors for pulsed neutron fields
The ARDENT program provided me with an interesting experience in the research field, and I intend to continue in this field. I had valuable opportunities for collaboration with a wide range of institutes from various countries and developed skills that will be invaluable in research.
I was able to achieve valuable scientific outcomes with the LUPIN-II detector, on which my project was focused. The ARDENT framework was very helpful in enabling we at Polimi to set up beam time at multiple institutions and to travel to conferences to present the results we obtained.
In addition, the access to training courses was very helpful in developing my understanding of my field and of research in general. A particular personal highlight was the ISOTDAQ 2012, which gave me an opportunity to experience using FPGAs and other devices that I had seen but never used before.
Overall ARDENT has been a rewarding experience and I look forward to continuing to work in the field of research.
Development of detectors for evaluation of satellite orientation and direction of energetic radiation in Low Earth Orbit
ARDENT provided me with the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technology in space applications. My task was the evaluation of data from a Timepix detector attached to the Proba-V satellite from ESA and to retrieve the directional information of particles in Low Earth Orbit. Originally this was only considered as a technology demonstration. I am also involved in the improvement of algorithms for the event-by-event evaluation of detected tracks.
Given the short time I spent within the ARDENT framework, I participated in one Summer School and the 4th ARDENT workshop. Nevertheless, I improved my understanding of radiation measurements in space and on earth as well as my knowledge in computational data evaluation. I obtained the opportunity to continue working at the IEAP in Prague as a researcher for the coming years. In this time, I will continue working on Timepix data.
Development of anthropomorphic phantom for radiation therapy quality assurance
I believe it's a great chance to be a part of such project as ARDENT.
Thanks to ARDENT I met great people, have gotten an experience of working in the international network and, most importantly, I was engaged in state-of-the-art research.
After developing of the phantom for Quality Assurance in advanced radiation oncology by Andrej Sipaj (ESR6), I've been exploring the application of the phantom in dosimetry and imaging in radiotherapy. I learned how to work with different types of dosimeters, worked on the possibilities of 3D printing in a medical application, and also a little bit of microelectronics. The preliminary results of this work were presented to the scientific community which was also a great experience for me.
Although I was involved in the project for a short period time, my participation as an Early Stage Researcher was a good start for my next scientific work which will also be my PhD.
Development of detectors for evaluation of satellite orientation and direction of energetic radiation in Low Earth Orbit
Participating in the ARDENT project gave me opportunity to work in research team focused on radiation hardness assurance of electronic components and total ionizing dose and single events effect experiments. My responsibility was to implement software interfaces between measurement instruments and personal computers. This development moved forward to involve complex SW solutions, including communication, data acquisition, creating data repositories and data processing. My skills were extended in LabVIEW graphical programing, serial communication and basics of SQL. This experience led to a deeper understanding of scientific programming and a better knowledge of electronics used for research.
I met new friends, created new networks with foreign colleagues and experienced different cultures. Also my language skills were improved.
Despite the fact that my ARDENT contract was relatively short (only six months) I feel that the project was successful and I now have open doors to European research and the next stages of personal and career growth.