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Med Dosim. 1999 Spring;24(1):49-52.

Accuracy of numerically produced compensators.

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Medical Physics Unit, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


A feasibility study is performed to assess the utility of a computer numerically controlled (CNC) mill to produce compensating filters for conventional clinical use and for the delivery of intensity-modulated beams. A computer aided machining (CAM) software is used to assist in the design and construction of such filters. Geometric measurements of stepped and wedged surfaces are made to examine the accuracy of surface milling. Molds are milled and filled with molten alloy to produce filters, and both the molds and filters are examined for consistency and accuracy. Results show that the deviation of the filter surfaces from design does not exceed 1.5%. The effective attenuation coefficient is measured for CadFree, a cadmium-free alloy, in a 6 MV photon beam. The effective attenuation coefficients at the depth of maximum dose (1.5 cm) and at 10 cm in solid water phantom are found to be 0.546 cm-1 and 0.522 cm-1, respectively. Further attenuation measurements are made with Cerrobend to assess the variations of the effective attenuation coefficient with field size and source-surface distance. The ability of the CNC mill to accurately produce surfaces is verified with dose profile measurements in a 6 MV photon beam. The test phantom is composed of a 10 degrees polystyrene wedge and a 30 degrees polystyrene wedge, presenting both a sharp discontinuity and sloped surfaces. Dose profiles, measured at the depth of compensation (10 cm) beneath the test phantom and beneath a flat phantom, are compared to those produced by a commercial treatment planning system. Agreement between measured and predicted profiles is within 2%, indicating the viability of the system for filter production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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