Miniature scintillating detector for small field radiation therapy

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Abstract

In planning stereotactic radiosurgery treatments, depth dose curves, profiles, and dose rate of treatment beams are difficult to obtain with conventional detectors because of loss of lateral electronic equilibrium and volume averaging. A scintillating detector with high spatial resolution and good reliability has been developed to overcome this problem. The miniature dosimeter consists of two identical radiation-resistant 10 m long silica optical fibers, each connected to an independent silicon photodiode. A small cylindrical polystyrene scintillator (3.9 mm3) is optically glued to the detection fiber. The light seen by the photodiode connected to this fiber arises from fluorescence of the scintillator and from the Cerenkov effect produced in silica. The reference signal produced by the fiber without scintillator is used to subtract the Cerenkov light contribution from the raw detector response. The sensitive volume of the scintillating detector is nearly water-equivalent and thus minimizes dose distribution perturbation in water. The miniature dosimeter has a spatial resolution comparable to the film-densitometer system. Profiles of 1 cm diam, 6 MV photon beam measured with both systems show very similar shapes. Furthermore, the use of photodiodes instead of photomultiplier tubes gives a better stability response and offers the possibility to perform absolute dosimetry.

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