Characterization of a water-equivalent fiber-optic coupled dosimeter for use in diagnostic radiology



This work reports on the characterization of a new fiber-optic coupled (FOC) dosimeter for use in the diagnostic radiology energy range. The FOC dosimeter was constructed by coupling a small cylindrical plastic scintillator, 500μm in diameter and 2 mm in length, to a 2 m long optical fiber, which acts as a light guide to transmit scintillation photons from the sensitive element to a photomultiplier tube (PMT). A serial port interface on the PMT permits real-time monitoring of light output from the dosimeter via a custom computer program. The FOC dosimeter offered excellent sensitivity and reproducibility, allowing doses as low as 0.16 mGy to be measured with a coefficient of variation of only 3.64%. Dose linearity was also excellent with a correlation coefficient of 1.000 over exposures ranging from 0.16 to 57.29 mGy. The FOC dosimeter exhibited little angular dependence from axial irradiation, varying by less than 5% over an entire revolution. A positive energy dependence was observed and measurements performed within a scatter medium yielded a 10% variation in sensitivity as beam quality changed due to hardening and scatter across a 16 cm depth range. The current dosimetry system features an array of five PMTs to allow multiple FOC dosimeters to be monitored simultaneously. Overall, the system allows for rapid and accurate dose measurements relevant to a range of diagnostic imaging applications.