Versatile Detection and Monitoring of Ionizing Radiation Treatment Using Radiation-Responsive Gel Nanosensors

Karthik Pushpavanam, Subhadeep Dutta, Sahil Inamdar, Tomasz Bista, Thaddeus Sokolowski, Alek Rapchak, Amir Sadeghi, Stephen Sapareto, Kaushal Rege

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Modern radiation therapy workflow involves complex processes intended to maximize the radiation dose delivered to tumors while simultaneously minimizing excess radiation to normal tissues. Safe and accurate delivery of radiation doses is critical to the successful execution of these treatment plans and effective treatment outcomes. Given extensive differences in existing dosimeters, the choice of devices and technologies for detecting biologically relevant doses of radiation has to be made judiciously, taking into account anatomical considerations and modality of treatment (invasive, e.g., interstitial brachytherapy vs noninvasive, e.g., external-beam therapy radiotherapy). Rapid advances in versatile radiation delivery technologies necessitate new detection platforms and devices that are readily adaptable into a multitude of form factors in order to ensure precision and safety in dose delivery. Here, we demonstrate the adaptability of radiation-responsive gel nanosensors as a platform technology for detecting ionizing radiation using three different form factors with an eye toward versatile use in the clinic. In this approach, ionizing radiation results in the reduction of monovalent gold salts leading to the formation of gold nanoparticles within gels formulated in different morphologies including one-dimensional (1D) needles for interstitial brachytherapy, two-dimensional (2D) area inserts for skin brachytherapy, and three-dimensional (3D) volumetric dose distribution in tissue phantoms. The formation of gold nanoparticles can be detected using distinct but complementary modes of readout including optical (visual) and photothermal detection, which further enhances the versatility of this approach. A linear response in the readout was seen as a function of radiation dose, which enabled straightforward calibration of each of these devices for predicting unknown doses of therapeutic relevance. Taken together, these results indicate that the gel nanosensor technology can be used to detect ionizing radiation in different morphologies and using different detection methods for application in treatment planning, delivery, and verification in radiotherapy and in trauma care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14997-15007
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 6 2022


  • brachytherapy
  • dosimeter
  • gold nanoparticles
  • hydrogel
  • prostate
  • radiotherapy
  • skin
  • surfactants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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