Imaging and radiation interactions of polymer gel dosimeters

Trapp, Jamie Vincent (2003) Imaging and radiation interactions of polymer gel dosimeters. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Aim: The past two decades have seen a large body of work dedicated to the development of a three dimensional gel dosimetry system for the recording of radiation dose distributions in radiation therapy. The purpose of much of the work to date has been to improve methods by which the absorbed dose information is extracted. Current techniques include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), optical tomography, Raman spectroscopy, x-ray computed tomography (CT) and ultrasound. This work examines CT imaging as a method of evaluating polymer gel dosimeters. Apart from publications resulting from this work, there has been only two other journal articles to date reporting results of CT gel dosimetry. This indicates that there is still much work required to develop the technique. Therefore, the aim of this document is to develop CT gel dosimetry to the extent that it is of use to clinical and research physicists. Scope: Each chapter in this document describes an aspect of CT gel dosimetry which was examined; with Chapters 2 to 7 containing brief technical backgrounds for each aspect. Chapter 1 contains a brief review of gel dosimetry. The first step in the development of any method for reading a signal is to determine whether the signal can actually be obtained. However, before polymer gel dosimeters can be imaged using a CT scanner, imaging techniques are required which are employable to obtain reliable readings. Chapter 2 examines the various artifacts inherent in CT which interfere with the quantitative analysis of gel dosimeters and a method for their removal is developed. The method for artifact reduction is based on a subtraction technique employed previously in a feasibility study and a system is designed to greatly simplify the process. The simplification of the technique removes the requirement for accurate realignment of the phantom within the scanner and the imaging of calibration vials is enabled. Having established a method by which readings of polymer gel dosimeters can be obtained with CT, Chapter 3 examines the CT dose response. A number of formulations of polymer gel dosimeter are studied by varying the constituent chemicals and their concentrations. The results from this chapter can be employed to determine the concentration of chemicals when manufacturing a polymer gel dosimeter with a desired CT dose response. With the CT dose response characterised in Chapter 3, the macroscopic cause of the CT signal is examined in Chapter 4. To this end direct measurement of the linear attenuation coefficient is obtained with a collimated radiation source and detector. Density is measured by Archimedes' principle. Comparison of the two results shows that the cause of the CT signal is a density change and the implications for polymer gel dosimetry are discussed. The CT scanner is revisited in Chapter 5 to examine the CT imaging techniques required for optimal performance. The main limitation of the use of CT in gel dosimetry to date has been image noise. In Chapter 5 stochastic noise is investigated and reduced. The main source of non-stochastic noise in CT is found and imaging techniques are examined which can greatly reduce this residual noise. Predictions of computer simulations are verified experimentally. Although techniques for the reduction of noise are developed in Chapter 5, there may be situations where the noise must be further reduced. An image processing algorithm is designed in Chapter 6 which employs a combination of commonly available image filters. The algorithm and the filters are tested for their suitability in gel dosimetry through the use of a simulated dose distribution and by performing a pilot study on an irradiated polymer gel phantom. Having developed CT gel dosimetry to the point where a suitable image can be obtained, the final step is to investigate the uncertainty in the dose calibration. Methods used for calibration uncertainty in MRI gel dosimetry to date have either assumed a linear response up to a certain dose, or have removed the requirement for linearity but incorrectly ignored the reliability of the data and fit of the calibration function. In Chapter 7 a method for treatment of calibration data in CT gel dosimetry is proposed which allows for non-linearity of the calibration function, as well as the goodness of its fit to the data. Alternatively, it allows for the reversion to MRI techniques if linearity is assumed in a limited dose range. Conclusion: The combination of the techniques developed in this project and the newly formulated normoxic gels (not extensively studied here) means that gel dosimetry is close to becoming viable for use in the clinic. The only capital purchase required for a typical clinic is a suitable water tank, which is easily and inexpensively producible if the clinic has access to a workshop.

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ID Code: 15904
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Michael, Gregory & Baldock, Clive
Keywords: X-ray computed tomography, Gel dosimetry, Radiotherapy, Image processing, Uncertainty, Linear attenuation coefficient
Department: Faculty of Science
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Jamie Vincent Trapp
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:52
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2013 05:38

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