A new approach to spectroscopy of laser induced proton beams using radiochromic film (RCF) is presented. This approach allows primary standards of absorbed dose-to-water as used in radiotherapy to be transferred to the calibration of GafChromic HD-810 and EBT in a 29 MeV proton beam from the Birmingham cyclotron. These films were then irradiated in a common stack configuration using the TARANIS Nd:Glass multi-terawatt laser at Queens University Belfast, which can accelerate protons to 10–12 MeV, and a depth-dose curve was measured from a collimated beam. Previous work characterizing the relative effectiveness (RE) of GafChromic film as a function of energy was implemented into Monte Carlo depth-dose curves using FLUKA. A Bragg peak (BP) “library” for proton energies 0–15 MeV was generated, both with and without the RE function. These depth-response curves were iteratively summed in a FORTRAN routine to solve for the measured RCF depth-dose using a simple direct search algorithm. By comparing resultant spectra with both BP libraries, it was found that the effect of including the RE function accounted for an increase in the total number of protons by about 50%. To account for the energy loss due to a 20 µm aluminum filter in front of the film stack, FLUKA was used to create a matrix containing the energy loss transformations for each individual energy bin. Multiplication by the pseudo-inverse of this matrix resulted in “up-shifting” protons to higher energies. Applying this correction to two laser shots gave further increases in the total number of protons, N of 31% and 56%. Failure to consider the relative response of RCF to lower proton energies and neglecting energy losses in a stack filter foil can potentially lead to significant underestimates of the total number of protons in RCF spectroscopy of the low energy protons produced by laser ablation of thin targets.
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