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Title: Seeing the invisible: Direct visualization of therapeutic radiation beams using air scintillation

Purpose: To assess whether air scintillation produced during standard radiation treatments can be visualized and used to monitor a beam in a nonperturbing manner. Methods: Air scintillation is caused by the excitation of nitrogen gas by ionizing radiation. This weak emission occurs predominantly in the 300–430 nm range. An electron-multiplication charge-coupled device camera, outfitted with an f/0.95 lens, was used to capture air scintillation produced by kilovoltage photon beams and megavoltage electron beams used in radiation therapy. The treatment rooms were prepared to block background light and a short-pass filter was utilized to block light above 440 nm. Results: Air scintillation from an orthovoltage unit (50 kVp, 30 mA) was visualized with a relatively short exposure time (10 s) and showed an inverse falloff (r{sup 2} = 0.89). Electron beams were also imaged. For a fixed exposure time (100 s), air scintillation was proportional to dose rate (r{sup 2} = 0.9998). As energy increased, the divergence of the electron beam decreased and the penumbra improved. By irradiating a transparent phantom, the authors also showed that Cherenkov luminescence did not interfere with the detection of air scintillation. In a final illustration of the capabilities of this new technique, the authors visualizedmore » air scintillation produced during a total skin irradiation treatment. Conclusions: Air scintillation can be measured to monitor a radiation beam in an inexpensive and nonperturbing manner. This physical phenomenon could be useful for dosimetry of therapeutic radiation beams or for online detection of gross errors during fractionated treatments.« less
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305 (United States)
  2. Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22250739
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 41; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: (c) 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; AMINO ACIDS; CAMERAS; CHARGE-COUPLED DEVICES; DOSE RATES; DOSIMETRY; ELECTRON BEAMS; ERRORS; IMAGES; IRRADIATION; LUMINESCENCE; PHANTOMS; PHOTON BEAMS; RADIOTHERAPY; SCINTILLATIONS