Characterization of spectral and intensity changes with measurement geometry in various light guides used in scintillation dosimetry

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Abstract

Purpose

To characterize response changes of various light guides used in megavoltage (MV) photon beam scintillation dosimetry as a function of irradiation conditions. Particular emphasis was placed on quantifying the impact of response changes on the Čerenkov light ratio (CLR).

Methods

Intensity and spectral response measurements as a function of dose, depth, and fiber-beam angle were performed with a commercial scintillation detector stripped of its scintillation material and five different custom-made light guides. The core materials of the light guides investigated consisted of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), low- and high-hydroxyl content silica, and polystyrene. Dose levels ranging from 50 monitor units (MU) to 1000 MU, depths ranging from 1 to 20 cm, and fiber-beam angles ranging from 10° to 90° were investigated. All measurements were performed at a photon beam energy of 6 MV. The CLR was calculated by taking the ratio of the responses in the blue to green spectral regions.

Results

There was no significant change in the CLR measured with the modified commercial scintillation detector as a function of delivered dose. In addition, increases in the CLR as functions of depth and fiber-beam angle were observed where the maximum changes were 4.2% and 3.6%, respectively. The spectrum measurements showed no observable changes in spectral shape with depth except for the low-hydroxyl content silica fiber. Variations in the measured spectral shape with fiber-beam angle were observed for all fibers investigated. The magnitude of the changes in the spectral shape varied with fiber type, where the silica fibers exhibited the largest changes and the plastic fibers exhibited the smallest changes. Increases in the CLR were observed for the silica fibers with depth and for all fibers with fiber-beam angle. The plastic fibers showed no significant change in the CLR as a function of depth. Increases of 3.1% and 9.5% in the CLR were observed for the high- and low-hydroxyl content silica fibers, respectively, over the range of depths investigated. Variations of 2.3%, 6.1%, 5.1% and 11.9% were observed for the PMMA, polystyrene, high-hydroxyl, and low-hydroxyl content silica fiber CLR values as a function of fiber-beam angle, respectively.

Conclusions

The insignificant change in the CLR with delivered dose indicates that a single CLR value over the investigated dose range is sufficient for accurate Čerenkov subtraction. Variations in the stem-effect spectrum shape can occur with changes in irradiation geometry. The magnitude of the changes are governed by the fiber construction and the optical properties of the fiber. The observed spectral shape changes can be explained by a combination of variations in optical path length through the fiber and the fiber fluorescent signal contribution to the stem-effect. These spectral shape variations directly influence the calculated CLR values. This work confirms that careful characterization of scintillation detectors is important as changes in the stem-effect spectrum can cause changes in the CLR. If the CLR changes between the reference and measurement conditions, this could result in an incorrect stem-effect subtraction and reduced measurement accuracy.

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