Marrale, M., Brai, M., Gennaro, G., Bartolotta, A. and D'Oca, M. C. The Effect of Gadolinium on the ESR Response of Alanine and Ammonium Tartrate Exposed to Thermal Neutrons. Radiat. Res. 169, 232–239 (2008).
Many efforts have been made to develop neutron capture therapy (NCT) for cancer treatment. Among the challenges in using NCT is the characterization of the features of the mixed radiation field and of its components. In this study, we examined the enhancement of the ESR response of pellets of alanine and ammonium tartrate with gadolinium oxide exposed to a thermal neutron beam. In particular, the ESR response of these dosimeters as a function of the gadolinium content inside the dosimeter was analyzed. We found that the addition of gadolinium improves the sensitivity of both alanine and ammonium tartrate. However, the use of gadolinium reduces or abolishes tissue equivalence because of its high atomic number (ZGd = 64). Therefore, it is necessary to find the optimum compromise between the sensitivity to thermal neutrons and the reduction of tissue equivalence. Our analysis showed that a low concentration of gadolinium oxide (of the order of 5% of the total mass of the dosimeter) can enhance the thermal neutron sensitivity more than 13 times with an insignificant reduction of tissue equivalence.