Development and characterization of a tissue equivalent plastic scintillator based dosimetry system



High precision techniques in radiation therapy, such as intensity modulated radiation therapy, offer the potential for improved target coverage and increased normal tissue sparing compared with conformal radiotherapy. The complex fluence maps used in many of these techniques, however, often lead to more challenging quality assurance with dose verification being labor-intensive and time consuming. A prototype dose verification system has been developed using a tissue equivalent plastic scintillator that provides easy-to-acquire, rapid, digital dose measurements in a plane perpendicular to the beam. The system consists of a water-filled Lucite phantom with a scintillator screen built into the top surface. The phantom contains a silver coated plastic mirror to reflect scintillation light towards a viewing window where it is captured using a charge coupled device camera and a personal computer. Optical photon spread is removed using a microlouvre optical collimator and by deconvolving a glare kernel from the raw images. A characterization of the system was performed that included measurements of linear output response, dose rate dependence, spatial linearity, effective pixel size, signal uniformity and both short- and long-term reproducibility. The average pixel intensity for static, regular shaped fields between 3cm×3cm and 12cm×12cm imaged with the system was found to be linear in the dose delivered with linear regression analysis yielding a correlation coefficient r2>0.99. Effective pixel size was determined to be 0.53mmpixel. The system was found to have a signal uniformity of 5.6% and a long-term reproducibility/stability of 1.7% over a 6 month period. The system's ability to verify a dynamic treatment field was evaluated using 60° dynamic wedged fields and comparing the results to two-dimensional film dosimetry. Results indicate agreement with two-dimensional film dosimetry distributions within 8% inside the field edges. With further development, this system promises to provide a fast, directly digital, and tissue equivalent alternative to current dose verification systems.