Effects of changes in the physics of EGSnrc compared to EGS4/PRESTA on energy deposition kernels for monoenergetic photons and on dose point kernels for beta sources in water are investigated. In the diagnostic energy range, Compton binding corrections were found to increase the primary energy fraction up to 4.5% at 30 keV with a corresponding reduction of the scatter component of the kernels. Rayleigh scattered photons significantly increase the scatter component of the kernels and reduce the primary energy fraction with a maximum 12% reduction also at 30 keV where the Rayleigh cross section in water has its maximum value. Sampling the photo-electron angular distribution produces a redistribution of the energy deposited by primaries around the interaction site causing differences of up to 2.7 times in the backscattered energy fraction at 20 keV. Above the pair production threshold, the dose distribution versus angle of the primary dose component is significantly different from the EGS4 results. This is related to the more accurate angular sampling of the electron-positron pair direction in EGSnrc as opposed to using a fixed angle approximation in default EGS4. Total energy fractions for photon beams obtained with EGSnrc and EGS4 are almost the same within 0.2%. This fact suggests that the estimate of the total dose at a given point inside an infinite homogeneous water phantom irradiated by broad beams of photons will be very similar for kernels calculated with both codes. However, at interfaces or near boundaries results can be very different especially in the diagnostic energy range. EGSnrc calculated kernels for monoenergetic electrons (50 keV, 100 keV, and 1 MeV) and beta spectra ( 32P and 90Y) are in excellent agreement with reported EGS4 values except at 1 MeV where inclusion of spin effects in EGSnrc produces an increase of the effective range of electrons. Comparison at 1 MeV with an ETRAN calculation of the electron dose point kernel shows excellent agreement.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.1861412
Journal Medical Physics
Mainegra-Hing, E. (Ernesto), Rogers, D.W.O, & Kawrakow, I. (Iwan). (2005). Calculation of photon energy deposition kernels and electron dose point kernels in water. Medical Physics, 32(3), 685–699. doi:10.1118/1.1861412