Ultrahigh dose-rate (FLASH) x-ray irradiator for pre-clinical laboratory research

Mohammad Rezaee, Iulian Iordachita, John W. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


FLASH irradiation has been shown to reduce significantly normal tissue toxicity compared to conventional irradiation, while maintaining tumor control probability at similar level. Clinical translation of FLASH irradiation necessitates comprehensive laboratory studies to elucidate biological effects as well as pertinent technological and physical requirements. At present, FLASH research employs complex accelerator technologies of limited accessibilities. Here, we study the feasibility of a novel self-shielded x-ray irradiation cabinet system, as an enabling technology to enhance the preclinical research capabilities. The proposed system employs two commercially available high capacity 150 kVp fluoroscopy x-ray sources with rotating anode technology in a parallel-opposed arrangement. Simulation was performed with the GEANT4 Monte-Carlo platform. Simulated dosimetric properties of the x-ray beam for both FLASH and conventional dose-rate irradiations were characterized. Dose and dose rate from a single kV x-ray fluoroscopy source in solid water phantom were verified with measurements using Gafchromic films. The parallel-opposed x-ray sources can deliver over 50 Gy doses to a 20 mm thick water equivalent medium at ultrahigh dose-rates of 40-240 Gy s-1. A uniform depth-dose rate (±5%) is achieved over 8-12 mm in the central region of the phantom. Mirrored beams minimize heel effect of the source and achieve reasonable cross-beam uniformity (±3%). Conventional dose-rate irradiation (≤0.1 Gy s-1) can also be achieved by reducing the tube current and increasing the distance between the phantom and tubes. The rotating anode x-ray source can be used to deliver both FLASH and conventional dose-rate irradiations with the field dimensions well suitable for small animal and cell-culture irradiations. For FLASH irradiation using parallel-opposed sources, entrance and exit doses can be higher by 30% than the dose at the phantom center. Beam angling can be employed to minimize the high surface doses. Our proposed system is amendable to self-shielding and enhance research in regular laboratory setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number095006
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 7 2021


  • FLASH radiotherapy
  • kV x-rays
  • orthovoltage x-rays
  • pre-clinical irradiation system
  • rotating anode x-ray sources
  • ultrahigh dose rate irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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