Osaka University team make great use of University facilities
The months of May, June and July saw the presence of a large team from Osaka University in the College using one of the unique accelerator facilities we have in the Medical Physics Building of the School of Physics and Astronomy. Our Dynamitron accelerator is an extremely rare machine able to provide very high currents (up to approximately 1 mA) of accelerated protons. This brought a research team from Osaka University to Birmingham to test out their ideas for neutron generating accelerator targets and also a neutron moderating system to provide a beam suitable for clinical use for Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT).
BNCT has been of great interest to the School of Physics for the last 15 years and we are now at the stage of funding applications which, if successful, would see clinical trials start within a few years. This would involve patients from the University Hospital being treated on the facility we have designed. Of course some parts of our own facility had to be dismantled to make way for the needs of the team from Osaka over this period.
The Osaka team, which included members from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, were led by Prof Hiroshi Horiike and Dr Isao Murata of Osaka University. They proved to be excellent and very well organised collaborators as they managed the delivery, unpacking and assembly of 3 large container lorries of equipment which was shipped by Sumitomo Corp. from Japan for these experiments.
The full team is shown below with the neutron moderator in the background. From the Osaka team: team leader Prof Horiike front-row centre and Dr Murata is on the back row at the far right. College staff members are on the back row starting from the left, John Lowe, Malcolm Scott, Ben Phoenix, Stuart Green.
The completed neutron moderator and shielding system is shown separately in the second image. They observed high epi-thermal neutron flux but very low gamma background which may be comparable to nuclear reactor cases.