Digital holographic interferometry: A novel optical calorimetry technique for radiation dosimetry


  • Cavan Alicia,

    1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand and Christchurch Hospital, Private Bag 4710, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
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  • Meyer Juergen

    1. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Washington, 1959 Northeast Pacific Street, Box 356043, Seattle, Washington 98195
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    • b)

      Electronic mail:; Telephone: +1 206-598-4236; Fax: +1 206-598-6218.



To develop and demonstrate the proof-of-principle of a novel optical calorimetry method to determine radiation absorbed dose in a transparent medium.


The calorimetric property of water is measured during irradiation by means of an interferometer, which detects temperature-induced changes in the refractive index that can be mathematically related to absorbed dose. The proposed method uses a technique called digital holographic interferometry (DHI), which comprises an optical laser interferometer setup and consecutive physical reconstruction of the recorded wave fronts by means of the Fresnel transform. This paper describes the conceptual framework and provides the mathematical basis for DHI dosimetry. Dose distributions from a high dose rate Brachytherapy source were measured by a prototype optical setup to demonstrate the feasibility of the approach.


The developed DHI dosimeter successfully determined absorbed dose distributions in water in the region adjacent to a high dose rate Brachytherapy source. A temperature change of 0.0381 K across a distance of 6.8 mm near the source was measured, corresponding to a dose of 159.3 Gy. The standard deviation in a typical measurement set was ±3.45 Gy (corresponding to an uncertainty in the temperature value of ±8.3 × 10−4 K). The relative dose fall off was in agreement with treatment planning system modeled data.


First results with a prototype optical setup and a Brachytherapy source demonstrate the proof-of-principle of the approach. The prototype achieves high spatial resolution of approximately 3 × 10−5 m. The general approach is fundamentally independent of the radiation type and energy. The sensitivity range determined indicates that the method is predominantly suitable for high dose rate applications. Further work is required to determine absolute dose in all three dimensions.