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Can Farmer-Type Ionization Chambers Be Used to Improve the Accuracy of Low-Energy Electron Beam Reference Dosimetry?

B Muir

B R Muir*, M R McEwen, Measurement Science and Standards, National Research Council, Ottawa, ON


SU-D-19A-1 Sunday 2:05PM - 3:00PM Room: 19A

Purpose: To investigate the use of cylindrical Farmer-type ionization chambers to improve the accuracy of low-energy electron beam calibration. Historically, these chamber types have not been used in beams with incident energies less than 10 MeV (R₅₀ < 4.3 cm) because early investigations suggested large (up to 5 %) fluence perturbation factors in these beams, implying that a significant component of uncertainty would be introduced if used for calibration. More recently, the assumptions used to determine perturbation corrections for cylindrical chambers have been questioned.

Methods: Measurements are made with cylindrical chambers in Elekta Precise 4, 8 and 18 MeV electron beams. Several chamber types are investigated that employ graphite walls and aluminum electrodes with very similar specifications (NE2571, NE2505/3, FC65-G). Depth-ionization scans are measured in water in the 8 and 18 MeV beams. To reduce uncertainty from chamber positioning, measurements in the 4 MeV beam are made at the reference depth in Virtual Water™. The variability of perturbation factors is quantified by comparing normalized response of various chambers.

Results: Normalized ion chamber response varies by less than 0.7 % for similar chambers at average electron energies corresponding to that at the reference depth from 4 or 6 MeV beams. Similarly, normalized measurements made with similar chambers at the reference depth in the 4 MeV beam vary by less than 0.4 %. Absorbed dose calibration coefficients derived from these results are stable within 0.1 % on average over a period of 6 years.

Conclusion: These results indicate that the uncertainty associated with differences in fluence perturbations for cylindrical chambers with similar specifications is only 0.2 %. The excellent long-term stability of these chambers in both photon and electron beams suggests that these chambers might offer the best performance for all reference dosimetry applications.

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