SU-F-BRE-11: Neutron Measurements Around the Varian TrueBeam Linac




With the emergence of flattening filter free (FFF) photon beams, several authors have noted many advantages to their use. One such advantage is the decrease in neutron production by photonuclear reactions in the linac head. In the present work we investigate the reduction in neutrons from a Varian TrueBeam linac using the Nested Neutron Spectrometer (NNS, Detec). The neutron spectrum, total fluence and source strength were measured and compared for 10 MV with and without flattening filter and the effect of moderation by the room and maze was studied for the 15 MV beam.


The NNS, similar to traditional Bonner sphere detectors but operated in current mode, was used to measure the neutron fluence and spectrum. The NNS was validated for use in high dose rate environments using Monte Carlo simulations and calibrated at NIST and NRC Canada. Measurements were performed at several positions within the treatment room and maze with the linac jaws closed to maximize neutron production.


The measurements showed a total fluence reduction between 35-40% in the room and maze when the flattening filter was removed. The neutron source strength Qn was calculated from in-room fluence measurements and was found to be 0.042 × 102 n/Gy, 0.026 × 102 n/Gy and 0.59 × 1012 n/Gy for the 10 MV, the 10 MV FFF and 15 MV beams, respectively. We measured ambient equivalent doses of 11 mSv/hr, 7 mSv/hr and 218 mSv/hr for the 10 MV, 10 MV FFF and 15 MV by the head.


Our measurements revealed a decrease in total fluence, neutron source strength and equivalent dose of approximately 35-40% across the treatment room for the FFF compared to FF modes. This demonstrates, as expected, that the flattening filter is a major component of the neutron production for the TrueBeam.

The authors greatly acknowledge support form the Canadian Nuclear Commission and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada through the CREATE program. Co-authors Dubeau and Witharana are employees of Detec (Gatineau, Quebec), manufacturer of the Nested Neutron Spectrometer.