Technical Note: Using dual step wedge and 2D scintillator to achieve highly precise and robust proton range quality assurance

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to develop a fast method for proton range quality assurance (QA) using a dual step wedge and two-dimensional (2D) scintillator and to evaluate the robustness, sensitivity, and long-term reproducibility of this method.

Methods

An in-house customized dual step wedge and a 2D scintillator were developed to measure proton ranges. Proton beams with homogenous fluence were delivered through wedge, and the images captured by the scintillator were used to calculate the proton ranges by a simple trigonometric method. The range measurements of 97 energies, comprising all clinically available synchrotron energies at our facility (ranges varying from 4 to 32 cm) were repeated ten times in all four gantry rooms for range baseline values. They were then used for evaluating room-to-room range consistencies. The robustness to setup uncertainty was evaluated by measuring ranges with ±2 mm setup deviations in the x, y, and z directions. The long-term reproducibility was evaluated by 1 month of daily range measurements by this method.

Results

Ranges of all 97 energies were measured in less than 10 minutes including setup time. The reproducibility in a single day and daily over 1 month is within 0.1 and 0.15 mm, respectively. The method was very robust to setup uncertainty, with measured range consistencies within 0.15 mm for ±2 mm couch shifts. The method was also sensitive enough for validating range consistencies among gantry rooms and for detecting small range variations.

Conclusions

The new method of using a dual step wedge and scintillator for proton range QA was efficient, highly reproducible, and robust. This method of proton range QA was highly feasible and appealing from a workflow point of view.

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