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Phys Med Biol. 2002 Jun 7;47(11):N133-43.

Investigation of photon beam output factors for conformal radiation therapy--Monte Carlo simulations and measurements.

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Abteilung für Medizinische Physik, Radioonkologische Universitätsklinik, Tübingen, Germany.


The purpose of this study was to investigate beam output factors (OFs) for conformal radiation therapy and to compare the OFs measured with different detectors with those simulated with Monte Carlo methods. Four different detectors (diode, diamond, pinpoint and ionization chamber) were used to measure photon beam OFs in a water phantom at a depth of 10 cm with a source-surface distance (SSD) of 100 cm. Square fields with widths ranging from 1 cm to 15 cm were observed; the OF for the different field sizes was normalized to that measured at a 5 cm x 5 cm field size at a depth of 10 cm. The BEAM/EGS4 program was used to simulate the exact geometry of a 6 MV photon beam generated by the linear accelerator, and the DOSXYZ-code was implemented to calculate the OFs for all field sizes. Two resolutions (0.1 cm and 0.5 cm voxel size) were chosen here. In addition, to model the detector four kinds of material, water, air, graphite or silicon, were placed in the corresponding voxels. Profiles and depth dose distributions resulting from the simulation show good agreement with the measurements. Deviations of less than 2% can be observed. The OF measured with different detectors in water vary by more than 35% for 1 cm x 1 cm fields. This result can also be found for the simulated OF with different voxel sizes and materials. For field sizes of at least 2 cm x 2 cm the deviations between all measurements and simulations are below 3%. This demonstrates that very small fields have a bad effect on dosimetric accuracy and precision. Finally, Monte Carlo methods can be significant in determining the OF for small fields.

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