Medical Applications

Research on medical applications of particle physics is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Saverio Braccini and is centred on the medical cyclotron in operation at the Bern University Hospital (Inselspital). This accelerator provides 18-MeV proton beams of variable intensity (from a few picoAmpere to 150 microAmpere). It is equipped with a Beam Transfer Line (BTL) with independent access to the beam area for multidisciplinary scientific developments, and a Solid Target Station (STS) with a contactless system to automatically transfer the target to an easily accessible shielded compartment. The facility is designed to perform industrial routine production of radio-pharmaceuticals and academic research in parallel.

Our group pursues several research lines based on particle accelerators and detectors for medical applications. We establish state-of-the-art radioisotope production methods for diagnostics and therapy (theranostics), in particular using solid targets. For optimised radioisotope production, accurate knowledge of the beam energy and of the cross section is crucial. We develop innovative methods to assess these quantities and to improve nuclear data. We also develop novel beam monitoring detectors to enhance the capabilities of our facility.

The cyclotron is used as a facility for radiation hardness studies for high-energy physics and space missions. We are developing techniques for the characterization of proton-induced neutron beams. We also perform studies on fundamental physics, radiation protection and particle therapy.

Most recently, our group has delved into adapting the BTL for pre-clinical proton therapy studies, and characterizing the extracted beam using real-time dosimetry.

Articles describing the Bern Medical Cyclotron and the research activities performed by the Medical Physics group were published by CHIPP and SCNAT, as well as the online magazine of the University of Bern.


This research line is supported by the Albert Einstein Centre for Fundamental Physics of the University of Bern (AEC), and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) (Grants No. 200021_175749, CRSII5_180352 and CR23I2_156852).

Main national and international collaborations: Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), CERN, Department of Nuclear Medicine (NUK) at the Inselspital, Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacy (DCBP) of the University of Bern, D-Pace (Canada) and SWAN Isotopen AG (Bern).