Events Calendar

Joseph Minervini (Novum Industria): An Advanced Superconducting Cyclotron for Variable Energy Hadron Therapy
Tuesday 10 August 2021, 12:00pm - 01:00pm

Superconducting cyclotrons are increasingly employed for beam radiotherapy treatment. The use of superconductivity in a cyclotron reduces its mass by an order of magnitude, with significant reduction in capital and operating costs. Despite decades of design effort, the magnetic configuration for superconducting cyclotrons remains relatively unchanged from resistive-magnet-based cyclotrons proposed by Lawrence over 80 years ago. The basic configuration still consists of a single split-pair solenoid embedded in a relatively massive iron return yoke, with the radial magnetic field profile in the acceleration region produced by a pair of magnetically saturated iron poles. The use of a warm iron yoke also requires the transmission of substantial electromagnetic loads across the cryostat boundary.

At MIT, we previously developed a design for a very high field superconducting synchrocyclotron (9 T at the pole face) that results in a compact device, small and light enough to be mounted directly on the beam delivery gantry, entirely eliminating the beam delivery system. As a next step for advancing superconducting cyclotron technology, we are developing a compact superconducting synchrocyclotron that further reduces the weight by eliminating all iron from the design. Implementation of this design benefits from several significant advances in superconducting magnet technology pioneered in the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) industry during the past 20 years, such as active magnetic shielding.

In addition to reduced weight, smaller accelerator vault volume, enhanced magnetic shielding, and structural efficiency, the linear relationship between operating current and field magnitude enables beam energy variation without a degrader. Reliance on an energy degrader comes at the cost of reduction of the beam current and undesirable production of secondary radiation that markedly increases the amount of radiation shielding required. Taken together, these advanced design concepts offer a compact accelerator that could be used for FLASH radiotherapy.

Short bio: Joseph Minervini has played a leading role in the field of large-scale applications of superconductors for more than 35 years as a Senior Research Scientist in the Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) at MIT, where he was also Division Head for Magnets and Cryogenics and held an academic appointment in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering until his recent retirement from MIT. In 2018 he co-founded a start-up company, Novum Industria LLC, to commercially exploit superconductor technology for applications in medicine, energy, and research.

His work has spanned the range from laboratory research to management of engineering groups and large-scale projects pursuing advanced superconducting and energy technology goals. His research interests include applied superconductivity, electromagnetics, cryogenic heat transfer, supercritical helium fluid dynamics and low temperature measurements. Joseph Minervini has over 140 publications in these technical fields. He has received the IEEE Council on Superconductivity Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions in the Field of Applied Superconductivity. He has also won the Award for Technical Excellence in Fusion Science and Engineering from the Fusion Engineering Division of the American Nuclear Society.

Among his recent research interests are the development of very high-field, highly compact, superconducting cyclotron accelerators for medical applications (proton and carbon radiotherapy, PET isotope production), for security applications (detection of special nuclear materials), and for laboratory research in nuclear physics. He is also investigating the application of High Temperature Superconducting materials to increasing power grid efficiency and efficiency of data centers and for advanced fusion magnet applications.

He holds Ph.D. and S.M. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.S. Engineering degree from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY.



Location : Virtual