Detector to detector corrections: A comprehensive experimental study of detector specific correction factors for beam output measurements for small radiotherapy beams

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The aim of the present study is to provide a comprehensive set of detector specific correction factors for beam output measurements for small beams, for a wide range of real time and passive detectors. The detector specific correction factors determined in this study may be potentially useful as a reference data set for small beam dosimetry measurements.


Dose response of passive and real time detectors was investigated for small field sizes shaped with a micromultileaf collimator ranging from 0.6 × 0.6 cm2 to 4.2 × 4.2 cm2 and the measurements were extended to larger fields of up to 10 × 10 cm2. Measurements were performed at 5 cm depth, in a 6 MV photon beam. Detectors used included alanine, thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs), stereotactic diode, electron diode, photon diode, radiophotoluminescent dosimeters (RPLDs), radioluminescence detector based on carbon-doped aluminium oxide (Al2O3:C), organic plastic scintillators, diamond detectors, liquid filled ion chamber, and a range of small volume air filled ionization chambers (volumes ranging from 0.002 cm3 to 0.3 cm3). All detector measurements were corrected for volume averaging effect and compared with dose ratios determined from alanine to derive a detector correction factors that account for beam perturbation related to nonwater equivalence of the detector materials.


For the detectors used in this study, volume averaging corrections ranged from unity for the smallest detectors such as the diodes, 1.148 for the 0.14 cm3 air filled ionization chamber and were as high as 1.924 for the 0.3 cm3 ionization chamber. After applying volume averaging corrections, the detector readings were consistent among themselves and with alanine measurements for several small detectors but they differed for larger detectors, in particular for some small ionization chambers with volumes larger than 0.1 cm3.


The results demonstrate how important it is for the appropriate corrections to be applied to give consistent and accurate measurements for a range of detectors in small beam geometry. The results further demonstrate that depending on the choice of detectors, there is a potential for large errors when effects such as volume averaging, perturbation and differences in material properties of detectors are not taken into account. As the commissioning of small fields for clinical treatment has to rely on accurate dose measurements, the authors recommend the use of detectors that require relatively little correction, such as unshielded diodes, diamond detectors or microchambers, and solid state detectors such as alanine, TLD, Al2O3:C, or scintillators.

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