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Phys Med Biol. 2013 Feb 7;58(3):601-19. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/3/601. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Projection imaging of photon beams using Čerenkov-excited fluorescence.

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Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Full 3D beam profiling and quality assurance (QA) of therapeutic megavoltage linear accelerator (LINAC) x-ray photon beams is not routinely performed due to the slow point-by-point measurement nature of conventional scanning ionization chamber systems. In this study we explore a novel optical-based dose imaging approach using a standard commercial camera, water tank, and fluorescent dye, which when excited by the Čerenkov emission induced by the radiation beam, allows 2D projection imaging in a fast timeframe, potentially leading toward 3D tomographic beam profiling. Detailed analysis was carried out to optimize the imaging parameters in the experimental setup. The results demonstrate that the captured images are linear with delivered dose, independent of dose rate, and comparison of experimentally captured images to a reference dose distribution for a 4 × 4 cm(2) 6 MV x-ray photon beam yielded results with improved accuracy over a previous study which used direct imaging and Monte Carlo calibration of the Čerenkov emission itself. The agreement with the reference dose distribution was within 1-2% in the lateral direction, and ±3% in the depth direction. The study was restricted to single 2D image projection, with the eventual goal of creating full 3D profiles after tomographic reconstruction from multiple projections. Given the increasingly complex advances in radiation therapy, and the increased emphasis on patient-specific treatment plans, further refinement of the technique could prove to be an important tool for fast and robust QA of x-ray photon LINAC beams.

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