Heavy-ion physics is present within the "International MasterClasses" for almost ten years. New developments aiming at expanding their scope and reach are presented in this talk.
First, in line with the physics research of typical heavy-ion experiments, three measurements were developed based on actual data analysis in the ALICE experiment at CERN/LHC. They correspond to the most important observables studied to characterise the properties of matter produced in energetic collisions of ions or protons. Then, with the aim to highlight applications from fundamental research for society a new MasterClass was developed on Particle Therapy for cancer treatment highlighting the benefits of therapy with carbon ions. A good example is the fact that for this therapy the heavy-ion research centre GSI, Germany, played a pioneering role in Europe, in 90s, leading to the construction of the HIT therapy centre in Heidelberg. Both masterclasses had challenging requirements on software developments as they had to be realistic but also easy to use.
In particular, recent developments resulted in a single modular framework integrating all three ALICE measurements supporting coherent further expansions. This framework can be built as a standalone application which can run on Linux by a simple double click, without the need of separate ROOT installation while necessary ROOT libraries are built in the executable using the AppImage format. The work of migrating the framework to a web environment has started and a proof of concept is presented.
For the Particle Therapy Masterclass (PTMC) the software used, matRad based on Matlab, is a professional open source toolkit developed by the cancer therapy research centre DKFZ in Heidelberg for research and training. It allows optimising the dose to be delivered to the patient (treatment planning) using photons, protons or ions. For the masterclass, first a phantom is used to explain the concepts and it is followed by treatments of head and liver tumours. PTMC demonstrates applications of fundamental physics research for cancer treatment, namely, the use of accelerators, detectors, and understanding interactions of different particles with matter.