Novel Low-Cost Medical Accelerator Designs for Use in Challenging Environments

Period of Performance: 06/12/2017 - 12/11/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tibaray, Inc.
854 Lathrop Drive Array
Stanford, CA 94305
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


Although Radiation Therapy (RT) for the treatment of cancer is widely available in the developed world, the need is dramatically underserved in various less developed parts, e.g. Africa, both because of the high cost of RT systems and the fact that such systems need reliable utilities, environmental systems and service infrastructure for operation. TibaRay is a start-up that plans to use novel technology developed at SLAC and Stanford University to develop the next generation of RT systems offering both greatly enhanced technical capabilities and more cost-effective patient treatment. The underlying accelerator technology can be utilized to make low-cost, environmentally insensitive RT systems that can serve underserved markets. The benefits to the DOE and to the public are improved medical systems, and the potential for new low-cost accelerator-based X-ray sources to replace ones using radioactive isotopes. How the Problem is Being Addressed: A recent breakthrough in RF linac cell design and topologies has led to extremely efficient structures in terms of RF to beam efficiency. This topology, further, enables splitting the accelerator structure into two sections along the axis, resulting in a significant reduction in part count and vacuum joints. This structure technology, already shown to be significantly better than existing linac structures, will be combined with a high current electron gun and associated beam buncher to form the basis of the low cost medical accelerator proposed in this SBIR. Intrinsically, because of low RF power and cooling requirements, the system is suitable for unreliable utilities such as those in the targeted markets. The proposed accelerators offer cost reductions in many existing accelerator-based x-ray sources that are used for imaging, medical, security and industrial applications. This will boost sales of RT systems over current forecasts, by expanding deployment in underserved markets in low-middle income countries (LMIC) which will account for up to 70% of the world wide cancer incidence with the next 15 years. In addition, our design can be easily adapted for use as replacements for radiological x-rays sources avoiding risk of the latter’s potential misuse in a radiological dispersion device, often termed a ‘dirty bomb’, where radioactive material is packaged with a conventional bomb to intentionally contaminate an area.