WE-AB-BRB-03: Investigation of a Small Photomultiplier-Based Probe for Use in Beam Diagnostics and Medical Dosimetry




Investigate the use of a small photomultiplier-based probe as a possible beam diagnostic and medical dosimetry tool.


Cerenkov emission produced by clinical accelerator beams was detected by a small photomultiplier tube (PMT). Measurements of Clinac beams were made both in air and by inserting the PMT directly into a water phantom. A conical collimator placed in front of the PMT reduced the angular acceptance and the detection of scattered light. With this arrangement, we obtained response curves as a function of depth along the central axis similar in shape and magnitude to those obtained with ionization chambers. Subsequent measurements were made with the PMT covered in aluminum foil, obtaining a signal arising primarily from direct Cerenkov light produced in the glass entrance window. With an oscilloscope and amplifier/MCA system, we were able to monitor the response to individual beam pulses and observe variations in the beam pulse shape and magnitude as a function of dose rate.


Using Cerenkov signals detected by a PMT, we were able to obtain reasonable beam quality metrics, and the response was found to be linear over a range of dose rates. The fast response of the PMT allowed for the observation of small changes in the shape and magnitude of the beam pulse. With this system we were able to detect small changes in the dose per pulse delivered by the accelerator.


A small PMT probe has shown promise as a beam diagnostic and medical dosimetry tool. Its fast response allows for real time beam pulse monitoring, and the integrated response can yield relative and perhaps even absolute dose information with a properly calibrated system. For accelerator diagnostics, monitoring of the beam pulse shape can aid in beam tuning, particularly in electron mode, where no target current pulse is available.