SU-D-BRD-07: Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Statistical Process Control Methods to Detect Systematic Errors For Routine Electron Energy Verification

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate the ability of statistical process control methods to detect systematic errors when using a two dimensional (2D) detector array for routine electron beam energy verification.

Methods:

Electron beam energy constancy was measured using an aluminum wedge and a 2D diode array on four linear accelerators. Process control limits were established. Measurements were recorded in control charts and compared with both calculated process control limits and TG-142 recommended specification limits. The data was tested for normality, process capability and process acceptability. Additional measurements were recorded while systematic errors were intentionally introduced. Systematic errors included shifts in the alignment of the wedge, incorrect orientation of the wedge, and incorrect array calibration.

Results:

Control limits calculated for each beam were smaller than the recommended specification limits. Process capability and process acceptability ratios were greater than one in all cases. All data was normally distributed. Shifts in the alignment of the wedge were most apparent for low energies. The smallest shift (0.5 mm) was detectable using process control limits in some cases, while the largest shift (2 mm) was detectable using specification limits in only one case. The wedge orientation tested did not affect the measurements as this did not affect the thickness of aluminum over the detectors of interest. Array calibration dependence varied with energy and selected array calibration. 6 MeV was the least sensitive to array calibration selection while 16 MeV was the most sensitive.

Conclusion:

Statistical process control methods demonstrated that the data distribution was normally distributed, the process was capable of meeting specifications, and that the process was centered within the specification limits. Though not all systematic errors were distinguishable from random errors, process control limits increased the ability to detect systematic errors using routine measurement of electron beam energy constancy.

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