Stopping power for particle therapy: the generic library libdEdx and clinically relevant stopping-power ratios for light ions

Int J Radiat Biol. 2012 Jan;88(1-2):209-12. doi: 10.3109/09553002.2011.595877. Epub 2011 Jul 19.


Purpose: Stopping-power data enter at a number of different places in particle therapy and their uncertainties have a direct impact on the accuracy of the therapy, e.g., in treatment planning. Furthermore, for clinical quality assurance, the particle beam stopping-power ratios (STPR) have to be known accurately for dosimetry.

Methods: An open-source computer library called libdEdx (library for energy loss per unit path length, dE/dx, calculations) is developed, providing stopping-power data from data tables and computer programs as well as a stopping-power formula comprising a large list of target materials. Calculations of STPR in the case of spread-out Bragg-peaks (SOBP) are performed with the Monte Carlo transportation code SHIELD-HIT (SHIELD-Heavy Ion Transport) using different ions relevant for particle therapy.

Results: For SOBP the water-to-air STPR depends on the residual range and is qualitatively very similar for different ions; however, small quantitative differences exist between the considered ion species.

Conclusions: libdEdx allows for a convenient and efficient treatment of stopping powers in numerical applications. It can be applied to estimate the dependence on the accuracy of the stopping power and to provide data for an extended number of target materials. The STPR for SOBP for different ions are found to be qualitatively the same which may allow for an analytical description valid for all ions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual*
  • Ions / therapeutic use*
  • Radiometry
  • Radiotherapy
  • Software


  • Ions