Multifactorial study and kinetics of signal development in ferrous–methylthymol blue–gelatin gel dosimeters

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Abstract

Purpose

To develop and characterize a ferrous–methylthymol blue–gelatin gel dosimeter with low optical background and appropriate additives for reduced rate of auto-oxidation and diffusion.

Methods

A mixed-level multifactorial design of experiments was used to test the effects of the concentrations of sulfuric acid, 5-nitro-1,10-phenanthroline (Nn), and glyoxal (Gx) on the background absorbance, dose sensitivity, and auto-oxidation of the tested gel dosimeter. The dosimetric properties of the proposed ferrous–methylthymol blue–gelatin dosimeter, doped with Nn and Gx, were compared with the undoped formulation and with ferrous–xylenol orange–gelatin gel dosimeters. Irradiations were performed in both small-scale cuvette samples and large 400-mL bulk samples. In addition to that, a new kinetic model for the signal development postirradiation was derived based on chemical principles and used for comparison of the different formulations.

Results

The new formulation showed a reduced auto-oxidation rate, while maintaining low background absorbance relative to the common ferrous–xylenol orange–gelatin gel dosimeter. Compared with undoped ferrous–xylenol orange or ferrous–methylthymol blue gels, the dose sensitivity of the new formulation is approximately 2 to 3 times lower, but remains clinically adequate. A previously unreported dose rate dependence of the dose sensitivity was observed, and a new kinetic model for the signal development postirradiation was used to investigate this effect. Similar dose rate dependences in gels containing either methylthymol blue or xylenol orange, with or without doping with Nn and Gx, were observed, suggesting that the low ferrous ammonium sulfate concentrations used in studied formulations were responsible for this effect.

Conclusions

A multifactorial design of experiments and a new kinetic model for the signal development postirradiation were successfully employed to optimize the composition and characterize the properties of a new ferrous–methylthymol blue–gelatin gel dosimeter doped with 5-nitro-1,10-phenanthroline and glyoxal. Concrete recommendations were provided for precise dosimetry using the new formulation.

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