TU-F-CAMPUS-T-04: Variations in Nominally Identical Small Fields From Photon Jaw Reproducibility and Associated Effects On Small Field Dosimetric Parameters




To investigate uncertainties in small field output factors and detector specific correction factors from variations in field size for nominally identical fields using measurements and Monte Carlo simulations.


Repeated measurements of small field output factors are made with the Exradin W1 (plastic scintillation detector) and the PTW microDiamond (synthetic diamond detector) in beams from the Elekta Precise linear accelerator. We investigate corrections for a 0.6x0.6 cm2 nominal field size shaped with secondary photon jaws at 100 cm source to surface distance (SSD). Measurements of small field profiles are made in a water phantom at 10 cm depth using both detectors and are subsequently used for accurate detector positioning. Supplementary Monte Carlo simulations with EGSnrc are used to calculate the absorbed dose to the detector and absorbed dose to water under the same conditions when varying field size. The jaws in the BEAMnrc model of the accelerator are varied by a reasonable amount to investigate the same situation without the influence of measurements uncertainties (such as detector positioning or variation in beam output).


For both detectors, small field output factor measurements differ by up to 11 % when repeated measurements are made in nominally identical 0.6x0.6 cm2 fields. Variations in the FWHM of measured profiles are consistent with field size variations reported by the accelerator. Monte Carlo simulations of the dose to detector vary by up to 16 % under worst case variations in field size. These variations are also present in calculations of absorbed dose to water. However, calculated detector specific correction factors are within 1 % when varying field size because of cancellation of effects.


Clinical physicists should be aware of potentially significant uncertainties in measured output factors required for dosimetry of small fields due to field size variations for nominally identical fields.