Particle therapy uses proton or 12C beams for the treatment of deep-seated solid tumors. Due to the features of energy deposition of charged particles a small amount of dose is released to the healthy tissue in the beam entrance region, while the maximum of the dose is released to the tumor at the end of the beam range, in the Bragg peak region. However nuclear interactions between beam and patient tissues induce fragmentation both of projectile and target and must be carefully taken into account.
In 12C treatments the main concern are long range fragments due to projectile fragmentation that release dose in the healthy tissue after the tumor, while in proton treatment the target fragmentation produces low energy, short range fragments along all the beam range.
The FOOT experiment (FragmentatiOn Of Target) is designed to study these processes. Target nuclei (16O,12C) fragmentation induced by 150-250 AMeV proton beam will be studied via inverse kinematic approach. 16O,12C therapeutic beams, with the quoted kinetic energy, collide on graphite and hydrocarbons target to provide the cross section on Hydrogen. This configuration explores also the projectile fragmentation of these 16O,12C beams. The detector includes a magnetic spectrometer based on silicon pixel detectors, a scintillating crystal calorimeter with TOF capabilities, able to stop the heavier fragments produced, and a ∆E detector to achieve the needed energy resolution and particle identification.
An alternative setup of the experiment will exploit the emulsion chamber capabilities. A specific emulsion chambers will be coupled with the interaction region of the FOOT setup to measure the production in target fragmentation of light charged fragments as protons, deuterons, tritons and Helium nuclei.
The FOOT data taking is foreseen at the CNAO experimental room and will start during early 2018 with the emulsion setup, while the complete electronic detector will take data since 2019