Accounting for the fringe magnetic field from the bending magnet in a Monte Carlo accelerator treatment head simulation
O' Shea, Tuathan P.
Foley, Mark J.
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O'Shea, TP,Foley, MJ,Faddegon, BA (2011) 'Accounting for the fringe magnetic field from the bending magnet in a Monte Carlo accelerator treatment head simulation'. Medical Physics, 38 :3260-3269.
Purpose: Monte Carlo (MC) simulation can be used for accurate electron beam treatment planning and modeling. Measurement of large electron fields, with the applicator removed and secondary collimator wide open, has been shown to provide accurate simulation parameters, including asymmetry in the measured dose, for the full range of clinical field sizes and patient positions. Recently, disassembly of the treatment head of a linear accelerator has been used to refine the simulation of the electron beam, setting tightly measured constraints on source and geometry parameters used in simulation. The simulation did not explicitly include the known deflection of the electron beam by a fringe magnetic field from the bending magnet, which extended into the treatment head. Instead, the secondary scattering foil and monitor chamber were unrealistically laterally offset to account for the beam deflection. This work is focused on accounting for this fringe magnetic field in treatment head simulation.Methods: The magnetic field below the exit window of a Siemens Oncor linear accelerator was measured with a Tesla-meter from 0 to 12 cm from the exit window and 1-3 cm off-axis. Treatment head simulation was performed with the EGSnrc/BEAMnrc code, modified to incorporate the effect of the magnetic field on charged particle transport. Simulations were used to analyze the sensitivity of dose profiles to various sources of asymmetry in the treatment head. This included the lateral spot offset and beam angle at the exit window, the fringe magnetic field and independent lateral offsets of the secondary scattering foil and electron monitor chamber. Simulation parameters were selected within the limits imposed by measurement uncertainties. Calculated dose distributions were then compared with those measured in water.Results: The magnetic field was a maximum at the exit window, increasing from 0.006 T at 6 MeV to 0.020 T at 21 MeV and dropping to approximately 5% of the maximum at the secondary scattering foil. It was up to three times higher in the bending plane, away from the electron gun, and symmetric within measurement uncertainty in the transverse plane. Simulations showed the magnetic field resulted in an offset of the electron beam of 0.80 cm (mean) at the machine isocenter for the exit window only configuration. The fringe field resulted in a 3.5%-7.6% symmetry and 0.25-0.35 cm offset of the clinical beam R-max profiles. With the magnetic field included in simulations, a single (realistic) position of the secondary scattering foil and monitor chamber was selected. Measured and simulated dose profiles showed agreement to an average of 2.5%/0.16 cm (maximum: 3%/0.2 cm), which is a better match than previously achieved without incorporating the magnetic field in the simulation. The undulations from the 3 stepped layers of the secondary scattering foil, evident in the measured profiles of the higher energy beams, are now aligned with those in the simulated beam. The simulated fringe magnetic field had negligible effect on the central axis depth dose curves and cross-plane dose profiles.Conclusions: The fringe magnetic field is a significant contributor to the electron beam in-plane asymmetry. With the magnetic field included explicitly in the simulation, realistic monitor chamber and secondary scattering foil positions have been achieved, and the calculated fluence and dose distributions are more accurate. (C) 2011 American Association of Physicists in Medicine. [DOI: 10.1118/1.3592640]
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