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Comment on `Proton beam monitor chamber calibration'.

Palmans, H; Vatnitsky, S M* (2016) Comment on `Proton beam monitor chamber calibration'. Phys. Med. Biol., 61 (17). pp. 6585-6593.

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We comment on a recent article (Gomà et al 2014 Phys. Med. Biol. 59 4961-71) which compares different routes of reference dosimetry for the energy dependent beam monitor calibration in scanned proton beams. In this article, a 3% discrepancy is reported between a Faraday cup and a plane-parallel ionization chamber in the experimental determination of the number of protons per monitor unit. It is further claimed that similar discrepancies between calorimetry and ionization chamber based dosimetry indicate that kQ-values tabulated for proton beams in IAEA TRS-398 might be overestimated. In this commentary we show, however, that this supporting argument misrepresents the evidence in the literature and that the results presented, together with published data, rather confirm that there exist unresolved problems with Faraday cup dosimetry. We also show that the comparison in terms of the number of protons gives a biased view on the uncertainty estimates for both detectors while the quantity of interest is absorbed dose to water or dose-areaproduct to water, even if a beam monitor is calibrated in terms of the number of protons. Gomà et al (2014 Phys. Med. Biol. 59 4961-71) also report on the discrepancy between cylindrical and plane-parallel ionization chambers and confirm experimentally that in the presence of a depth dose gradient, theoretical values of the effective point of measurement, or alternatively a gradient correction factor, account for the discrepancy. We believe this does not point to an error or shortcoming of IAEA TRS-398, which prescribes taking the centre of cylindrical ionization chambers as reference point, since it recommends reference dosimetry to be performed in the absence of a depth dose gradient. But these observations reveal that important aspects of beam monitor calibration in scanned proton beams are not addressed in IAEA TRS-398 given that those types of beams were not widely implemented at the time of its publication.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Proton beam, beam monitor calibration, scanned beam, Faraday cup, calorimetry, ionization chamber, dose-area-product
Subjects: Ionising Radiation
Ionising Radiation > Dosimetry
Identification number/DOI: 10.1088/0031-9155/61/17/6585
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 13:13
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/7310

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