SU-E-T-552: Monte Carlo Calculation of Correction Factors for a Free-Air Ionization Chamber in Support of a National Air-Kerma Standard for Electronic Brachytherapy




To use Monte Carlo radiation transport methods to calculate correction factors for a free-air ionization chamber in support of a national air-kerma standard for low-energy, miniature x-ray sources used for electronic brachytherapy (eBx).


The NIST is establishing a calibration service for well-type ionization chambers used to characterize the strength of eBx sources prior to clinical use. The calibration approach involves establishing the well-chamber's response to an eBx source whose air-kerma rate at a 50 cm distance is determined through a primary measurement performed using the Lamperti free-air ionization chamber. However, the free-air chamber measurements of charge or current can only be related to the reference air-kerma standard after applying several corrections, some of which are best determined via Monte Carlo simulation. To this end, a detailed geometric model of the Lamperti chamber was developed in the EGSnrc code based on the engineering drawings of the instrument. The egs_fac user code in EGSnrc was then used to calculate energy-dependent correction factors which account for missing or undesired ionization arising from effects such as: (1) attenuation and scatter of the x-rays in air; (2) primary electrons escaping the charge collection region; (3) lack of charged particle equilibrium; (4) atomic fluorescence and bremsstrahlung radiation.


Energy-dependent correction factors were calculated assuming a monoenergetic point source with the photon energy ranging from 2 keV to 60 keV in 2 keV increments. Sufficient photon histories were simulated so that the Monte Carlo statistical uncertainty of the correction factors was less than 0.01%. The correction factors for a specific eBx source will be determined by integrating these tabulated results over its measured x-ray spectrum.


The correction factors calculated in this work are important for establishing a national standard for eBx which will help ensure that dose is accurately and consistently delivered to patients.