Date of Graduation

8-2012

Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Medical Physics

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Stephen Kry, PhD

Committee Member

David Followill, PhD

Committee Member

Dianna Cody, PhD

Committee Member

Laurence Court, PhD

Committee Member

Francesco Stingo, PhD

Abstract

Measurement of the absorbed dose from ionizing radiation in medical applications is an essential component to providing safe and reproducible patient care. There are a wide variety of tools available for measuring radiation dose; this work focuses on the characterization of two common, solid-state dosimeters in medical applications: thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLD) and optically stimulated luminescent dosimeters (OSLD).

There were two main objectives to this work. The first objective was to evaluate the energy dependence of TLD and OSLD for non-reference measurement conditions in a radiotherapy environment. The second objective was to fully characterize the OSLD nanoDot in a CT environment, and to provide validated calibration procedures for CT dose measurement using OSLD.

Current protocols for dose measurement using TLD and OSLD generally assume a constant photon energy spectrum within a nominal beam energy regardless of measurement location, tissue composition, or changes in beam parameters. Variations in the energy spectrum of therapeutic photon beams may impact the response of TLD and OSLD and could thereby result in an incorrect measure of dose unless these differences are accounted for.

In this work, we used a Monte Carlo based model to simulate variations in the photon energy spectra of a Varian 6MV beam; then evaluated the impact of the perturbations in energy spectra on the response of both TLD and OSLD using Burlin Cavity Theory. Energy response correction factors were determined for a range of conditions and compared to measured correction factors with good agreement.

When using OSLD for dose measurement in a diagnostic imaging environment, photon energy spectra are often referenced to a therapy-energy or orthovoltage photon beam – commonly 250kVp, Co-60, or even 6MV, where the spectra are substantially different. Appropriate calibration techniques specifically for the OSLD nanoDot in a CT environment have not been presented in the literature; furthermore the dependence of the energy response of the calibration energy has not been emphasized. The results of this work include detailed calibration procedures for CT dosimetry using OSLD, and a full characterization of this dosimetry system in a low-dose, low-energy setting.

Keywords

TLD, OSLD, energy response, photon spectra, cavity theory, CT, MCNP