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PhD Research Course in "Ionizing radiations interaction with matter and its implementation in Monte Carlo calculations"

Note that this course was given 2015 and will not be repeated 2016
PhD Research Course in Interaction with Matter and its application in Monte Carlo calculations
The purpose of this PhD course is to introduce the PhD students to Monte Carlo methods for simulation of both photons for imaging application and charge-particles for mainly dosimetry purposes. Two programs that represent tools for imaging research and dosimetry research will be discussed in detail. These programs are public domain and can be easily installed. The theory behind the photon interaction and charge-particles (mainly electrons) will be discussed in detail and the underlying methods of how these theories have be implemented into calculation programs with various assumptions and approximations.

Location: Medical Radiation Physics, Lund University Hospital, Barngatan 2:1, Lund, Sweden

Preliminary course plan

Part 1:  Introduction to Monte Carlo method and to the SIMIND program - August 24th - 25th  2015

Monday: 10.00 - 16.00  
Tuesday: 09.00 - 15.00  

  1. Introduction to the Monte Carlo method
  2. Photon interactions
  3. Computer phantoms.
  4. Cross-sections and related Internet resources
  5. The SIMIND Monte Carlo
    5.1 Structure, installation and operation
    5.2 Applications in Nuclear Medicine Imaging.
  6. Exercises with SIMIND

Part 2:  Electro-magnetic interactions of photons and electrons - August 26th - 28th  2015

Wednesday: 09.00 - 15.00
Thursday: 09.00 - 15.00 
Friday: 09.00 - 15.00 

    1. Interactions of photons with matter.
      1.1. Photoelectric absorption. (Born approx., dipole approx., relativistic multipole approx.)
      1.2. Rayleigh scattering. (Form factor approx., anomalous form factor approx., molecular effects).
      1.3. Compton scattering. (Klein-Nishina formula, Waller-Hartree approx., relativistic impulse approx.)
      1.4 Pair and triplet production.

    2. Interactions of electrons and positrons with matter.
      2.1. Elastic scattering. (Born approx., screened Rutherford formula, partial-wave expansion)
      2.2. Inelastic collisions (Moller and Bhabha formulas, plane-wave and distorted-wave Born aprox.)
      2.3. Bremsstrahlung emission. (Bethe-Heitler formula, partial-wave expansion).
      2.4. Positron annihilation.

    3. Interactions of protons and ions
      3.1. General differences from electron interaction.
      3.2. Inelastic nuclear interaction, cross section data.
      3.3. Applications in radiation therapy.

    4. Implementation in Monte Carlo codes.
      4.1. Sampling algorithms for individual photon and electron interactions.
      4.2. Electron transport and multiple scattering theories.

    Part 3: Introduction to the PENELOPE Code system - August 31rd - September 2nd 2015

    Monday: 10.00 - 16.00  
    Tuesday: 09.00 - 15.00  
    Wednesday: 09.00 - 15.00 

    1. The PENELOPE code system
      1.1 Structure, installation and operation
      1.2 Generation of material files
      1.3 Quadric geometries
    2. The PENELOPE/penEasy system
      2.1 Structure and operation
      2.2 Voxelized geometries
    3. Exercises with PENELOPE/penEasy
      3.1 Absorbed dose distribution in liquid water
      3.2 Gamma spectrometry with a scintillation detector
      3.3 Simulation of a linear accelerator
      3.4 Voxelized geometries
      3.5 Brachytherapy source

    Course ends at Wednesday 2nd of September   2015 at 15.00


    Teaching will be in the form of regular lectures, demonstration and hands-on help also supervision of the individual tasks. Students are encouraged to bring own lap-tops with them to work on during the hands-on tasks. Lectures will be given by

    • José M. Fernández-Varea, associate professor, University of Barcelona, Spain
    • Michael Ljungberg, professor, Medical Radiation Physics, Lund University
    • Joakim Medin, associate professor, Radiation Physics, Skane University Hospital, Lund Sweden.
    • Josep Sempau, senior researcher, Technical University of Catalonia, Spain


    To pass each of the three themes in the course (1 ECTS per theme), attendance at all scheduled parts of each theme is required. For each of the themes, the attendee also needs to write a report of minimum one page and maximum of two pages where he/she describes the outcome of the course, particular learnings and how the participant’s PhD education could benefit from the theme. The reports should be reviewed and signed by the PhD supervisor and sent to the course administrator.

    To pass the extended part of the course (4 ECTS), completion of a task, defined by the participant, is required, where one of the two Monte Carlo programs presented at the course has been used. The results and endpoints from this task should be documented in a report and presented at the local institution in order to increase the spread of knowledge of what the student has learned. The PhD student will be granted the 4 ECTS credits when he/she sends in the report, reviewed and signed by the supervisor, as well as a copy of the presentation given at the local institution, to the course administration. The teachers of the course may provide help to specific questions regarding the MC program but the examiner of this part will be the supervisor, that with his signature acknowledges that the time spent on the task corresponds to 4 ECTS credits.


    Please send an email with your full contact information to michael.ljungberg [at] Describe also which parts you which to attend and if you have experinence in Monte Carlo simulations.

    Hands-out can be found in this password-protected file

    Installation and preparation

    In order to be able to work on your laptops during the lessons of SIMIND and PENELOPE we ask you to review and install the software that is descripe in the following link

    SIMIND:     Select the version for your OS and be sure that the PATH and SMC_DIR environmental variables are set according to the instructions.

    PENELOPE:   Tools needed for the Penelope program. The main Penelope program will be available soon!

    It is also recommended to install some software that display images. Michael will use the ImageJ program,
    that is a freeware program available for Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. You find the software on the link