Implications of X-ray tube parameter deviations in X-ray reference fields

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For the purpose of radiation protection, ICRU Report 57/ICRP Publication 74 provides a list of monoenergetic conversion coefficients to be used with, among others, photon reference fields generated with X-ray tubes. A comprehensive definition of these photon reference fields can be found in international standard ISO 4037; however, it lacks thorough indication of the allowed deviations of essential parameters that influence these X-ray reference fields. These parameters are the high-voltage tube potential, the thickness of the beryllium window and the purity and thickness of the filter materials used to create different radiation qualities. Small variations of these parameters can lead to significant changes in the created X-ray spectra and, hence, the spectra-dependent conversion coefficients for phantom-related radiation-protection quantities. This can lead to situations in which the conversion coefficients listed in ISO 4037 cannot be used, resulting in time-consuming spectrometry measurements. In this work, the impact on the resulting conversion coefficients is investigated using a simplified mathematical approximation model. The findings are validated with an independent X-ray spectra calculation programme. As a result, well-founded upper limit values on the allowed deviations of the essential X-ray tube parameters are proposed to be used in a future revision of ISO 4037.

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