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Med Phys. 2009 Dec;36(12):5622-32.

Simulation of large x-ray fields using independently measured source and geometry details.

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  • 1Radiation Oncology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.



Obtain an accurate simulation of the dose from the 6 and 18 MV x-ray beams from a Siemens Oncor linear accelerator by comparing simulation to measurement. Constrain the simulation by independently determining parameters of the treatment head and incident beam, in particular, the energy and spot size.


Measurements were done with the treatment head in three different configurations: (1) The clinical configuration, (2) the flattening filter removed, and (3) the target and flattening filter removed. Parameters of the incident beam and treatment head were measured directly. Incident beam energy and spectral width were determined from the percent-depth ionization of the raw beam (as described previously), spot size was determined using a spot camera, and the densities of the flattening filters were determined by weighing them. Simulations were done with EGSnrc/BEAMnrc code. An asymmetric simulation was used, including offsets of the spot, primary collimator, and flattening filter from the collimator rotation axis.


Agreement between measurement and simulation was obtained to the least restrictive of 1% or 1 mm at 6 MV, both with and without the flattening filter in place, except for the buildup region. At 18 MV, the agreement was 1.5%/1.5 mm with the flattening filter in place and 1%/1 mm with it removed, except for in the buildup region. In the buildup region, the discrepancy was 2%/2 mm at 18 MV and 1.5%/1.5 mm at 6 MV with the flattening filter either removed or in place. The methodology for measuring the source and geometry parameters for the treatment head simulation is described. Except to determine the density of the flattening filter, no physical modification of the treatment head is necessary to obtain those parameters. In particular, the flattening filter does not need to be removed as was done in this work.


Good agreement between measured and simulated dose distributions was obtained, even in the buildup region. The simulation was tightly constrained by independent measurements of parameters of the incident beam and treatment head. The method of obtaining the input parameters is described, and can be carried out on a clinical linear accelerator.

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