Air core detectors for Cerenkov-free scintillation dosimetry of brachytherapyβ-sources

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Abstract

Purpose

Plastic scintillation detectors are used for dosimetry in small radiation fields with high dose gradients, e.g., provided by β-emitting sources like 106Ru/106Rh eye plaques. A drawback is a background signal caused by Cerenkov radiation generated by electrons passing the optical fibers (light guides) of this dosimetry system. Common approaches to correct for the Cerenkov signal are influenced by uncertainties resulting from detector positioning and calibration procedures. A different approach to avoid any correction procedure is to suppress the Cerenkov signal by replacing the solid core optical fiber with an air core light guide, previously shown for external beam therapy. In this study, the air core concept is modified and applied to the requirements of dosimetry in brachytherapy, proving its usability for measuring water energy doses in small radiation fields.

Methods

Three air core detectors with different air core lengths are constructed and their performance in dosimetry for brachytherapy β-sources is compared with a standard two-fiber system, which uses a second fiber for Cerenkov correction. The detector systems are calibrated with a 90Sr/90Y secondary standard and tested for their angular dependence as well as their performance in depth dose measurements of 106Ru/106Rh sources.

Results

The signal loss relative to the standard detector increases with increasing air core length to a maximum value of 58.3%. At the same time, however, the percentage amount of Cerenkov light in the total signal is reduced from at least 12.1% to a value below 1.1%. There is a linear correlation between induced dose and measured signal current. The air core detectors determine the dose rates for 106Ru/106Rh sources without any form of correction for the Cerenkov signal.

Conclusions

The air core detectors show advantages over the standard two-fiber system especially when measuring in radiation fields with high dose gradients. They can be used as simple one-fiber systems and allow for an almost Cerenkov-free scintillation dosimetry of brachytherapy β-sources.

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