A key point in the quality control of ion therapy is real-time monitoring and imaging of the dose delivered to the patient. Among the possible signals that can be used to make such a monitoring, prompt gamma-rays issued from nuclear fragmentation are possible candidates, provided the correlation between the emission profile and the primary beam range can be established. By means of simultaneous energy and time of flight discrimination, we could measure the longitudinal profile of the prompt gamma-rays emitted by 73 MeV/u carbon ions stopping inside a PMMA target. This technique allowed us to minimize the shielding against neutrons and scattered gamma rays, and to find a good correlation between the prompt gamma profile and the ion range. This profile was studied as a function of the observation angle. By extrapolating our results to higher energies and realistic detection efficiencies, we showed that prompt gamma-ray measurements make it feasible to control in real time the longitudinal dose during ion therapy treatments.
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