Design and experimental testing of air slab caps which convert commercial electron diodes into dual purpose, correction-free diodes for small field dosimetry

Charles, P.H., Cranmer-Sargison, G., Thwaites, D.I., Kairn, T., Crowe, S.B., Pedrazzini, G., Aland, T., Kenny, J., Langton, C.M., & Trapp, J.V. (2014) Design and experimental testing of air slab caps which convert commercial electron diodes into dual purpose, correction-free diodes for small field dosimetry. Medical Physics, 41, pp. 101701-1.

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Two diodes which do not require correction factors for small field relative output measurements are designed and validated using experimental methodology. This was achieved by adding an air layer above the active volume of the diode detectors, which canceled out the increase in response of the diodes in small fields relative to standard field sizes.


Due to the increased density of silicon and other components within a diode, additional electrons are created. In very small fields, a very small air gap acts as an effective filter of electrons with a high angle of incidence. The aim was to design a diode that balanced these perturbations to give a response similar to a water-only geometry. Three thicknesses of air were placed at the proximal end of a PTW 60017 electron diode (PTWe) using an adjustable “air cap”. A set of output ratios (ORfclin Det ) for square field sizes of side length down to 5 mm was measured using each air thickness and compared to ORfclin Det measured using an IBA stereotactic field diode (SFD). k fclin, f msr Qclin,Qmsr was transferred from the SFD to the PTWe diode and plotted as a function of air gap thickness for each field size. This enabled the optimal air gap thickness to be obtained by observing which thickness of air was required such that k fclin, f msr Qclin,Qmsr was equal to 1.00 at all field sizes. A similar procedure was used to find the optimal air thickness required to make a modified Sun Nuclear EDGE detector (EDGEe) which s “correction-free” in small field relative dosimetry. In addition, the feasibility of experimentally transferring k fclin, f msr Qclin,Qmsr values from the SFD to unknown diodes was tested by comparing the experimentally transferred k fclin, f msr Qclin,Qmsr values for unmodified PTWe and EDGEe diodes to Monte Carlo simulated values.


1.0 mm of air was required to make the PTWe diode correction-free. This modified diode (PTWeair) produced output factors equivalent to those in water at all field sizes (5–50 mm). The optimal air thickness required for the EDGEe diode was found to be 0.6 mm. The modified diode (EDGEeair) produced output factors equivalent to those in water, except at field sizes of 8 and 10 mm where it measured approximately 2% greater than the relative dose to water. The experimentally calculated k fclin, f msr Qclin,Qmsr for both the PTWe and the EDGEe diodes (without air) matched Monte Carlo simulated results, thus proving that it is feasible to transfer k fclin, f msr Qclin,Qmsr from one commercially available detector to another using experimental methods and the recommended experimental setup.


It is possible to create a diode which does not require corrections for small field output factor measurements. This has been performed and verified experimentally. The ability of a detector to be “correction-free” depends strongly on its design and composition. A nonwater-equivalent detector can only be “correction-free” if competing perturbations of the beam cancel out at all field sizes. This should not be confused with true water equivalency of a detector.

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ID Code: 77825
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: diode, small field, radiotherapy
DOI: 10.1118/1.4894728
ISSN: 0094-2405
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Deposited On: 19 Oct 2014 23:03
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2016 02:59

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