1. ION SOURCES: This is where beams of positively charged atoms – ions – are produced. To obtain protons, hydrogen gas is used, while carbon dioxide is used for carbon ions.
2. Two-stage linear accelerator: Ions are accelerated in high-frequency structures to up to 10% of the speed of light.
3. SYNCHROTRON: Six 60° magnets bend the ion beams into a circular path. Over the course of around one million orbits, the ions are accelerated to up to 75% of the speed of light.
4. HEADING TOWARD THE TREATMENT ROOM: Magnets guide and focus the beam in vacuum tubes.
5. TREATMENT ROOM: The beam enters the treatment room through a window. The patient is positioned on a treatment table that is precisely adjusted by a computer-controlled robot.
6. Position control: With a digital x-ray system, images are created prior to irradiation. A computer program matches the images with those used for treatment planning to precisely adjust the patient.
7. THE GANTRY: The rotating beam delivery system enables the therapy beam to be directed toward the patient at the optimal angle. The gantry weighs 670 tons, of which 600 tons can be rotated with submillimeter precision.
8. TREATMENT ROOM IN THE GANTRY: This is where the beam exits the gantry beamline. Two rotating digital x-ray systems are used to optimize the patient position by image guidance prior to the irradiation.