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BEST IN PHYSICS (THERAPY) - Development of a Calorimeter for the Measurement of the Power Emitted From LDR Brachytherapy Sources

M Malin

M Malin*, B Palmer , L DeWerd , University of WI-Madison, Madison, WI


WE-A-17A-2 Wednesday 7:30AM - 9:30AM Room: 17A

Purpose: Model-based dose calculation algorithms for brachytherapy sources are designed to compute dose per particle or dose per unit energy leaving the encapsulation of a brachytherapy source. As such, the power leaving the encapsulation of a source, called emitted power (EP), would be a natural source strength metric for these new algorithms. However, no instrument is currently capable of an absolute measurement of EP. A calorimeter operating with a liquid helium thermal sink was designed and constructed to measure the EP of low-dose rate (LDR) I-125 and Pd-103 brachytherapy sources.

Methods: Calorimeter design was optimized through thermal and Monte Carlo (MC) modeling. Thermal modeling showed that specific thermal conditions would be necessary for accurate calorimeter measurements. These conditions were experimentally verified. The EP of two LDR I-125 source models was measured. An air-kerma-strength (AKS)-to-EP conversion coefficient was determined through MC simulations and applied to well-type ionization chamber measurements of AKS to enable comparison with EP measurements.

Results: MC-determined EP per unit AKS conversion coefficients were source model dependent and are on the order of 0.1 μW/U. The signal-to-noise ratio was a function of source strength, and was 294 for a 0.5 μW source. Measurements were repeatable to within 3.6% for a 0.5 μW source. Initial EP measurements were made with two I-125 source models, a 5.7 U Oncura 6711 and a 2.9 U Best Medical 2301. Model 2301 results agreed with the MC-converted AKS value to within the measurement uncertainty of 4.3% at k=1. The Model 6711 results were systematically high and are under investigation.

Conclusion: A calorimeter was designed to provide an absolute measurement of the EP for LDR brachytherapy sources and preliminary EP measurements have been made. This new calorimeter design shows promise of providing a more fundamentally useful source strength standard.


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