This paper presents the implementation of the bremsstrahlung cross-section enhancement (BCSE) variance-reduction technique into the EGSnrc/BEAMnrc system. BCSE makes the simulation of x-ray production from bremsstrahlung targets more efficient; it does so by artificially making the rare event of bremsstrahlung emission more abundant, which increases the number of statistically-independent photons that contribute to reducing the variance of the quantity of interest without increasing the CPU time appreciably. BCSE does not perturb the charged-particle transport in EGSnrc and it is made compatible with all other variance-reduction techniques already used in EGSnrc and BEAMnrc, including range rejection, uniform bremsstrahlung splitting, and directional bremsstrahlung splitting. When optimally combining BCSE with splitting to simulate typical situations of interest in medical physics research and in clinical practice, efficiencies can be up to five orders of magnitude larger than those obtained with analog simulations, and up to a full order of magnitude larger than those obtained with optimized splitting alone (which is the state-of-the-art of the EGSnrc/BEAMnrc system before this study was carried out). This study recommends that BCSE be combined with the existing splitting techniques for all EGSnrc/BEAMnrc simulations that involve bremsstrahlung targets, both in the kilovoltage and megavoltage range. Optimum cross-section enhancement factors for typical situations in diagnostic x-ray imaging and in radiotherapy are recommended, along with an easy algorithm for simulation optimization.
Medical Physics
Department of Physics

Ali, E.S.M., & Rogers, D.W.O. (2007). Efficiency improvements of x-ray simulations in EGSnrc user-codes using bremsstrahlung cross-section enhancement (BCSE). Medical Physics, 34(6), 2143–2154. doi:10.1118/1.2736778