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Med Phys. 2010 Mar;37(3):1246-53.

A diamond target for megavoltage cone-beam CT.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.



To determine the properties of a megavoltage cone-beam CT system using the unflattened beam from a sintered diamond target at 4 and 6 MV.


A sintered diamond target was used in place of a graphite target as part of an imaging beam line (an unflattened beam from a graphite target) installed on a linear accelerator. The diamond target, with a greater density than the graphite target, permitted imaging at the lower beam energy (4 MV) required with the graphite target and the higher beam energy (6 MV) conventionally used with the tungsten/stainless steel target and stainless steel flattening filter. Images of phantoms and patients were acquired using the different beam lines and compared. The beam spectra and dose distributions were determined using Monte Carlo simulation.


The diamond target allowed use of the same beam energy as for treatment, simplifying commissioning and quality assurance. Images acquired with the diamond target at 4 MV were similar to those obtained with the graphite target at 4 MV. The slight reduction in low energy photons due to the higher-Z sintering material in the diamond target had minimal effect on image quality. Images acquired at 6 MV with the diamond target showed a small decrease in contrast-to-noise ratio, resulting from a decrease in the fraction of photons in the beam in the energy range to which the detector is most sensitive.


The diamond target provides images of a similar quality to the graphite target. Diamond allows use of the higher beam energy conventionally used for treatment, provides a higher dose rate for the same beam current, and potentially simplifies installation and maintenance of the beam line.

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