A major task in commissioning an electron accelerator is to measure relative output factors versus cutout size (i.e., cutout factors) for various electron beam energies and applicator sizes. We use the BEAM Monte Carlo code [Med Phys. 22, 503-524 (1995)] to stimulate clinical electron beams and to calculate the relative output factors for square cutouts. Calculations are performed for a Siemens MD2 linear accelerator with beam energies, 6, 9, 11, and 13 MeV. The calculated cutout factors for square cutouts in 10 x 10 cm2, 15 x 15 cm2, and 20 x 20 cm2 applicators at SSDs of 100 and 115 cm agree with the measurements made using a silicon diode within about 1% except for the smallest cutouts at SSD = 115 cm where they agree within 0.015. The details of each component of the dose, such as the dose from particles scattered off the jaws and the applicator, the dose from contaminant photons, the dose from direct electrons, etc., are also analyzed. The calculations show that in-phantom side-scatter equilibrium is a major factor for the contribution from the direct component which usually dominates the output of a beam. It takes about 6 h of CPU time on a Pentium Pro 200MHz computer to simulate an accelerator and additional 2 h to calculate the relative output factor for each cutout with a statistical uncertainty of 1%.

, , ,
Medical Physics
Carleton University

Zhang, G.G., Rogers, D.W.O, Cygler, J.E., & Mackie, T.R. (1999). Monte Carlo investigation of electron beam output factors versus size of square cutout. Medical Physics, 26(5), 743–750. doi:10.1118/1.598582