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Phys Med Biol. 2013 Apr 7;58(7):2073-84. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/7/2073. Epub 2013 Mar 8.

On the nature of the light produced within PMMA optical light guides in scintillation fiber-optic dosimetry.

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Department of Radiation Physics, Unit 94, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The goal of this study was to evaluate the nature of the stem effect light produced within an optical fiber, to quantify its composition, and to evaluate the efficiency of the chromatic technique to remove the stem effect. Spectrometry studies were performed during irradiations of a bare PMMA optical fiber with kilovoltage x-rays from a superficial therapy unit, an Ir-192 high-dose-rate brachytherapy source, a Co-60 external-therapy unit, and megavoltage electrons and x-rays from a linear accelerator. Stem effect spectra can be accurately modeled by a linear combination of the Cerenkov light and fluorescence emitted spectra. Fluorescence light contributes more for lower-energy modalities. Cerenkov light contributes more as the energy increases above the threshold for its production. The chromatic stem effect removal technique is accurate in most of the situations. However, noticeable differences were obtained between very specific high-energy irradiation conditions. It would be advantageous to implement an additional channel in the chromatic stem effect removal chain or implement a spectral approach to independently remove the Cerenkov and the fluorescence components from the signal of interest. This would increase the accuracy and versatility of the actual chromatic stem effect removal technique.

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