A recent paper analyzed the sensitivity to various simulation parameters of the Monte Carlo simulations of nine beams from three major manufacturers of commercial medical linear accelerators, ranging in energy from 4-25 MV. In this work the nine models are used: To calculate photon energy spectra and average energy distributions and compare them to those published by Mohan et al. [Med. Phys. 12, 592-597 (1985)]; to separate the spectra into primary and scatter components from the primary collimator, the flattening filter and the adjustable collimators; and to calculate the contaminant-electron fluence spectra and the electron contribution to the depth-dose curves. Notwithstanding the better precision of the calculated spectra, they are similar to those calculated by Mohan et al. The three photon spectra at 6 MV from the machines of three different manufacturers show differences in their shapes as well as in the efficiency of bremsstrahlung production in the corresponding target and filter combinations. The contribution of direct photons to the photon energy fluence in a 10×10 field varies between 92% and 97%, where the primary collimator contributes between 0.6% and 3.4% and the flattening filter contributes between 0.6% and 4.5% to the head-scatter energy fluence. The fluence of the contaminant electrons at 100 cm varies between 5×10-9 and 2.4×10-7 cm-2 per incident electron on target, and the corresponding spectrum for each beam is relatively invariant inside a 10×10 cm2 field. On the surface the dose from electron contamination varies between 5.7% and 11% of maximum dose and, at the depth of maximum dose, between 0.16% and 2.5% of maximum dose. The photon component of the percentage depth-dose at 10 cm depth is compared with the general formula provided by AAPM's task group 51 and confirms the claimed accuracy of 2%.

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Medical Physics
Department of Physics

Sheikh-Bagheri, D. (Daryoush), & Rogers, D.W.O. (2002). Monte Carlo calculation of nine megavoltage photon beam spectra using the BEAM code. Medical Physics, 29(3), 391–402. doi:10.1118/1.1445413