Modeling ion recombination in liquid ionization chambers — Improvement and analysis of the two-dose-rate method

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Abstract

Purpose:

The use of liquid ionization chambers can provide useful information to endeavors with radiation dosimetry for highly modulated beams. Liquid ionization chambers may be particularly suitable for computed tomography applications where conventional ionization chambers do not present a high enough sensitivity for the spatial resolution required to characterize common X-ray beams. Due to the sensitivity, which leads to high charge densities, liquid ionization chambers can suffer from large recombination losses leading to degradation in signal to dose rate linearity. To solve this problem, a two-dose-rate method for general recombination correction has been proposed for liquid ionization chambers. However, the valid range of recombination losses that the method can accurately account for has been found to vary depending on radiation quality. The present work provides an in-depth analysis of the performance of the two-dose-rate method. Furthermore, the soundness of applying gas theory to liquids is investigated by using the two-dose-rate method.

Methods:

In the present work, the two-dose-rate method for general recombination correction of liquid ionization chambers used in continuous beams is studied by employing theory for gas-filled ionization chambers. An approximate relation for the general collection efficiency containing a material-specific parameter that is traceable to liquids has been derived for theoretical and experimental investigation alongside existing theory. Furthermore, the disassociation between initial and general recombination in the method is analyzed both theoretically and experimentally.

Results:

The results indicate that liquids and gases share general recombination characteristics, where the liquids investigated (isooctane and tetramethylsilane) to a large extent mimic the behavior theoretically expected in gases. Furthermore, it is shown that the disassociation between initial and general recombination in the two-dose-rate method is an approximation that depends on the relation between initial recombination and the collecting electric field strength at the dose rates used.

Conclusions:

Due to the approximation used to separate initial and general recombination the valid range of collection efficiencies for the two-dose-rate method will not only depend on the model used to describe general recombination but also on the type of liquid and radiation beam quality. As there is no robust theory for initial recombination in liquids to apply, the valid range of general collection efficiencies for the two-dose-rate method should be experimentally evaluated for each radiation dosimetry application.

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