Microionization chamber air-kerma calibration coefficients as a function of photon energy for x-ray spectra in the range of 20–250 kVp relative to 60Co

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Abstract

Purpose:

To investigate the applicability of a wide range of microionization chambers for reference dosimetry measurements in low- and medium-energy x-ray beams.

Methods:

Measurements were performed with six cylindrical microchamber models, as well as one scanning chamber and two Farmer-type chambers for comparison purposes. Air-kerma calibration coefficients were determined at the University of Wisconsin Accredited Dosimetry Calibration Laboratory for each chamber for a range of low- and medium-energy x-ray beams (20–250 kVp), with effective energies ranging from 11.5 keV to 145 keV, and a60Co beam. A low-Z proof-of-concept microchamber was developed and calibrated with and without a high-Z silver epoxy on the collecting electrode.

Results:

All chambers composed of low-Z materials (Z ≤ 13), including the Farmer-type chambers, the scanning chamber, and the PTW TN31014 and the proof-of-concept microchambers, exhibited air-kerma calibration coefficients with little dependence on the quality of the beam. These chambers typically exhibited variations in calibration coefficients of less than 3% with the beam quality, for medium energy beams. However, variations in air-kerma calibration coefficients of greater than 50% were measured over the range of medium-energy x-ray beams for each of the microchambers containing high-Z collecting electrodes (Z > 13). For these high-Z chambers, which include the Exradin A14SL and A16 chambers, the PTW TN31006 chamber, the IBA CC01 chamber, and the proof-of-concept chamber containing silver, the average variation in air-kerma calibration coefficients between any two calibration beams was nearly 25% over the entire range of beam qualities investigated.

Conclusions:

Due to the strong energy dependence observed with microchambers containing high-Z components, these chambers may not be suitable dosimeters for kilovoltage x-ray applications, as they do not meet the TG-61 requirements. It is recommended that only microchambers containing low-Z materials (Z ≤ 13) be considered for air-kerma calibrations for reference dosimetry in low- and medium-energy x-ray beams.

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