Evaluation of factors to convert absorbed dose calibrations from graphite to water for the NPL high-energy photon calibration service.

Centre for Ionising Radiation Metrology, National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, Middlesex, UK.
Physics in Medicine and Biology (Impact Factor: 2.92). 03/2002; 47(3):441-54. DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/47/3/306
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) provides a high-energy photon calibration service using 4-19 MV x-rays and 60Co gamma-radiation for secondary standard dosemeters in terms of absorbed dose to water. The primary standard used for this service is a graphite calorimeter and so absorbed dose calibrations must be converted from graphite to water. The conversion factors currently in use were determined prior to the launch of this service in 1988. Since then, it has been found that the differences in inherent filtration between the NPL LINAC and typical clinical machines are large enough to affect absorbed dose calibrations and, since 1992, calibrations have been performed in heavily filtered qualities. The conversion factors for heavily filtered qualities were determined by interpolation and extrapolation of lightly filtered results as a function of tissue phantom ratio 20,10 (TPR20,10). This paper aims to evaluate these factors for all mega-voltage photon energies provided by the NPL LINAC for both lightly and heavily filtered qualities and for 60Co y-radiation in two ways. The first method involves the use of the photon fluence-scaling theorem. This states that if two blocks of different material are irradiated by the same photon beam, and if all dimensions are scaled in the inverse ratio of the electron densities of the two media, then, assuming that all photon interactions occur by Compton scatter the photon attenuation and scatter factors at corresponding scaled points of measurement in the phantom will be identical. The second method involves making in-phantom measurements of chamber response at a constant target-chamber distance. Monte Carlo techniques are then used to determine the corresponding dose to the medium in order to determine the chamber calibration factor directly. Values of the ratio of absorbed dose calibration factors in water and in graphite determined in these two ways agree with each other to within 0.2% (1sigma uncertainty). The best fit to both sets of results agrees with values determined in previous work to within 0.3% (1sigma uncertainty). It is found that the conversion factor is not sensitive to beam filtration.

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