Hardware for Radiation Dose Calculation

Tech ID: 06-024

Inventors: Dr. Xiaobo Sharon Hu, Dr. Cedric Yu, Kevin Whitton

Date added: June 29, 2020


An FGPA implementation of radiation dose calculation for cancer treatment.

Technology Summary

Radiation therapy is a common form of cancer treatment that involves the use of ionizing energy to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation dose calculation involves computing the amount of energy, released via a photon beam, that is focused within a region of interest in a patient. For every cancer case, the distribution of radiation doses throughout the patient must be accurately computed to ensure that sufficiently high doses cover the tumor while the doses deposited in non-cancerous structures are within their tolerable limits. Desirable dose calculation approaches require both high accuracy and high speed. Faster radiation dose calculation allows more patients to be treated as it speeds up the treatment planning process, but it is important that accuracy is maintained for effective treatment. Current methods for calculating radiation dose use software implementing either three-dimensional (3-D) convolution/superposition algorithms or Monte Carlo analysis. 3-D convolution/superposition radiation dose calculation results can be obtained in minutes, but are much more inaccurate. Monte Carlo analysis yields radiation dose calculations with higher accuracy, but are more time intensive due to larger computational loads. Ultimately, the current state of radiation therapy for cancer patients would greatly benefit from improving the accuracy and speed of radiation dose calculation step of the treatment plan. 

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have developed a novel field-programmable gate array (FPGA) implementation for radiation dose calculations. This technology is a programmable hardware implementation that improves the accuracy and performance of the conventional 3-D convolution/superposition collapsed cone algorithm. The Hardware For Radiation Dose Calculation developed by the University of Notre Dame is a better alternative than existing algorithms because more intricate and specific geometries can be quickly and effectively targeted during cancer treatments. 

Market Advantages

•    Speeds up radiation dose calculations without sacrificing accuracy – shortening the most time-consuming step in radiation therapy in order to serve more cancer patients. 

Intellectual Property

US Patent 8,494,115 (Methods and apparatus for hardware based radiation dose calculation)


An FPGA Solution for Radiation Dose Calculation. 
doi: 10.1109/FCCM.2006.23

Technology Readiness Level

TRL3 - Experimental Proof of Concept


Richard Cox