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Modeling Cerenkov Emissions From Medical Linear Accelerators: A Monte Carlo Study

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Z Shrock

Z Shrock*, M Oldham , J Adamson , Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC


SU-F-T-507 (Sunday, July 31, 2016) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: Cerenkov emissions are a natural byproduct of MV radiotherapy but are typically ignored as inconsequential. However, Cerenkov photons may be useful for activation of drugs such as psoralen. Here, we investigate Cerenkov radiation from common radiotherapy beams using Monte Carlo simulations.

Methods: GAMOS, a GEANT4-based framework for Monte Carlo simulations, was used to model 6 and 18MV photon beams from a Varian medical linac. Simulations were run to track Cerenkov production from these beams when irradiating a 50cm radius sphere of water. Electron contamination was neglected. 2 million primary photon histories were run for each energy, and values scored included integral dose and total track length of Cerenkov photons between 100 and 400 nm wavelength. By lowering process energy thresholds, simulations included low energy Bremsstrahlung photons to ensure comprehensive evaluation of UV production in the medium.

Results: For the same number of primary photons, UV Cerenkov production for 18MV was greater than 6MV by a factor of 3.72 as determined by total track length. The total integral dose was a factor of 2.31 greater for the 18MV beam. Bremsstrahlung photons were a negligibly small component of photons in the wavelength range of interest, comprising 0.02% of such photons.

Conclusion: Cerenkov emissions in water are 1.6x greater for 18MV than 6MV for the same integral dose. Future work will expand the analysis to include optical properties of tissues, and to investigate strategies to maximize Cerenkov emission per unit dose for MV radiotherapy.

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