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Report No. 097 - Report of AAPM Therapy Physics Committee Task Group 74: In-air output ratio, Sc, for megavoltage photon beams (2009)

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The concept of in-air output ratio (Sc) was introduced to characterize how the incident photon fluence per monitor unit (or unit time for a Co-60 unit) varies with collimator settings. However, there has been much confusion regarding the measurement technique to be used that has prevented the accurate and consistent determination of Sc. The main thrust of the report is to devise a theoretical and measurement formalism that ensures interinstitutional consistency of Sc. The in-air output ratio, Sc, is defined as the ratio of primary collision water kerma in free-space, Kp, per monitor unit between an arbitrary collimator setting and the reference collimator setting at the same location. Miniphantoms with sufficient lateral and longitudinal thicknesses to eliminate electron contamination and maintain transient electron equilibrium are recommended for the measurement of Sc. The authors present a correction formalism to extrapolate the correct Sc from the measured values using high-Z miniphantom. Miniphantoms made of high-Z material are used to measure Sc for small fields (e.g., IMRT or stereotactic radiosurgery). This report presents a review of the components of Sc, including headscatter, source-obscuring, and monitor-backscattering effects. A review of calculation methods (Monte Carlo and empirical) used to calculate Sc for arbitrary shaped fields is presented. The authors discussed the use of Sc in photon dose calculation algorithms, in particular, monitor unit calculation. Finally, a summary of Sc data (from RPC and other institutions) is included for QA purposes.

Medical Physics, 36, 5261-5291 (2009)

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Keywords: Output Factor, In-Air Output Ratio, MU Calculation, Headscatter, Miniphantom
Therapy Physics Committee Task Group #74

Timothy C. Zhu, Anders Ahnesjö, Kwok Leung Lam, X. Allen Li, Chang-Ming Charlie Ma, Jatinder R. Palta, Michael B. Sharpe, Bruce R. Thomadsen, Ramesh C. Tailor

Committee Responsible: Radiation Dosimetry & Treatment Planning Subcommittee

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