Radiation therapy physics
Using LiF:Mg,Cu,P TLDs to estimate the absorbed dose to water in liquid water around an 192Ir brachytherapy source
The absorbed dose to water is the fundamental reference quantity for brachytherapy treatment planning systems and thermoluminescence dosimeters (TLDs) have been recognized as the most validated detectors for measurement of such a dosimetric descriptor. The detector response in a wide energy spectrum as that of an192Ir brachytherapy source as well as the specific measurement medium which surrounds the TLD need to be accounted for when estimating the absorbed dose. This paper develops a methodology based on highly sensitive LiF:Mg,Cu,P TLDs to directly estimate the absorbed dose to water in liquid water around a high dose rate 192Ir brachytherapy source.
Different experimental designs in liquid water and air were constructed to study the response of LiF:Mg,Cu,P TLDs when irradiated in several standard photon beams of the LNE-LNHB (French national metrology laboratory for ionizing radiation). Measurement strategies and Monte Carlo techniques were developed to calibrate the LiF:Mg,Cu,P detectors in the energy interval characteristic of that found when TLDs are immersed in water around an192 Ir source. Finally, an experimental system was designed to irradiate TLDs at different angles between 1 and 11 cm away from an 192 Ir source in liquid water. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to correct measured results to provide estimates of the absorbed dose to water in water around the 192 Ir source.
The dose response dependence of LiF:Mg,Cu,P TLDs with the linear energy transfer of secondary electrons followed the same variations as those of published results. The calibration strategy which used TLDs in air exposed to a standard N-250 ISO x-ray beam and TLDs in water irradiated with a standard137Cs beam provided an estimated mean uncertainty of 2.8% (k = 1) in the TLD calibration coefficient for irradiations by the 192 Ir source in water. The 3D TLD measurements performed in liquid water were obtained with a maximum uncertainty of 11% (k = 1) found at 1 cm from the source. Radial dose values in water were compared against published results of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology and no significant differences (maximum value of 3.1%) were found within uncertainties except for one position at 9 cm (5.8%). At this location the background contribution relative to the TLD signal is relatively small and an unexpected experimental fluctuation in the background estimate may have caused such a large discrepancy.
This paper shows that reliable measurements with TLDs in complex energy spectra require a study of the detector dose response with the radiation quality and specific calibration methodologies which model accurately the experimental conditions where the detectors will be used. The authors have developed and studied a method with highly sensitive TLDs and contributed to its validation by comparison with results from the literature. This methodology can be used to provide direct estimates of the absorbed dose rate in water for irradiations with HDR192Ir brachytherapy sources.