Monte Carlo simulations of small field output factors in solid phantoms

Smith, S. T., Charles, P. H., Crowe, S. B., Asena, A., & Trapp, J. V. (2014) Monte Carlo simulations of small field output factors in solid phantoms. Australasian Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine, 37(1), p. 190.

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Total scatter factor (or output factor) in megavoltage photon dosimetry is a measure of relative dose relating a certain field size to a reference field size. The use of solid phantoms has been well established for output factor measurements, however to date these phantoms have not been tested with small fields. In this work, we evaluate the water equivalency of a number of solid phantoms for small field output factor measurements using the EGSnrc Monte Carlo code.


The following small square field sizes were simulated using BEAMnrc: 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 30 mm. Each simulated phantom geometry was created in DOSXYZnrc and consisted of a silicon diode (of length and width 1.5 mm and depth 0.5 mm) submersed in the phantom at a depth of 5 g/cm2. The source-to-detector distance was 100 cm for all simulations. The dose was scored in a single voxel at the location of the diode. Interaction probabilities and radiation transport parameters for each material were created using custom PEGS4 files.


A comparison of the resultant output factors in the solid phantoms, compared to the same factors in a water phantom are shown in Fig. 1. The statistical uncertainty in each point was less than or equal to 0.4 %. The results in Fig. 1 show that the density of the phantoms affected the output factor results, with higher density materials (such as PMMA) resulting in higher output factors. Additionally, it was also calculated that scaling the depth for equivalent path length had negligible effect on the output factor results at these field sizes.

Discussion and conclusions

Electron stopping power and photon mass energy absorption change minimally with small field size [1]. Also, it can be seen from Fig. 1 that the difference from water decreases with increasing field size. Therefore, the most likely cause for the observed discrepancies in output factors is differing electron disequilibrium as a function of phantom density. When measuring small field output factors in a solid phantom, it is important that the density is very close to that of water.

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ID Code: 71401
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.1007/s13246-014-0248-y
ISSN: 1879-5447
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > OTHER PHYSICAL SCIENCES (029900) > Medical Physics (029903)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 12 May 2014 22:58
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2016 03:00

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