ARDENT to develop advanced dosimetric techniques

Earlier this week, the EU-supported Marie Curie training network ARDENT kicked off at a meeting held at CERN. The overall aim of the project is the development of advanced instrumentation for radiation dosimetry. The applications range from radiation measurements around particle accelerators, onboard commercial flights and in space, to the characterization of radioactive waste and medicine, where accurate dosimetry is of vital importance.


The ARDENT (Advanced Radiation Dosimetry European Network Training) project is both a research and a training programme, which aims at developing new dosimetric techniques while providing 15 Early-Stage Researchers (ESR) with state-of-the-art training. The project, coordinated by CERN, is funded by the European Union with a contribution of about 3.9 million euros over four years.

The ARDENT initiative will focus on three main technologies: gas detectors, in particular Gas Electron Multipliers (GEM) and Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counters (TEPC); solid state detectors such as Medipix and silicon microdosimeters; and track detector techniques. “ARDENT researchers will address the potential uses of instruments based on these technologies,” explains CERN’s Marco Silari, a member of the Radiation Protection Group and the scientist in charge of the programme. “The challenges of radiation dosimetry are to disentangle the various components of a radiation field, determine the dosimetric quantities that are due to each component, obtain information on the energy distribution of the various components (spectrometry) and ideally measure the “quality” of the radiation field. The instruments that ARDENT aims at developing should be able to do this in a very accurate way.”

State-of-the-art dosimetric instrumentation can be exploited to characterize the stray radiation field around particle accelerators used not only in fundamental research but also for industrial applications and in the medical field for radionuclide production and in cancer radiation therapy. “The assessment of secondary doses received by patients undergoing radiation therapy due to the stray photon and neutron radiation outside the treatment field is a very important issue in cancer therapy,” says Marco. “The measurement of the properties of clinical hadron beams such as the transverse beam profile, the depth dose distributions, field homogeneity and the fragmentation of carbon ions is an important tool for medical doctors who have to design the best treatment plan for patients.”

ARDENT involves 12 institutes (7 Full Partners and 5 Associate Partners), representing both research and academic organisations and industry,  from Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the US and, of course, CERN. “At the kick-off meeting we approved the composition of the various boards of the ARDENT organisational structure, reviewed the overall goals of the project and the scope of its training and outreach, and discussed the programme of the first annual workshop which will take place in Vienna towards the end of the year,” says Marco. “We are currently in the recruiting phase. We received 34 applications for 15 vacancies and have just selected the four ESRs who will be based at CERN. Most of the other partners are also well advanced in their recruitment.”

“The participation of CERN (in particular DGS/RP and PH/ESE) in ARDENT will help us to develop radiation monitoring techniques that could be used at CERN as well as elsewhere in various domains. I am happy that the Radiation Protection Group has a leading role in this project,” concludes Doris Forkel-Wirth, head of the Radiation Protection Group in the Health & Safety and Environmental Protection Unit.

More information on the ARDENT programme can be found on the dedicated website.

by Antonella Del Rosso