Purpose: To investigate recommendations for reference dosimetry of electron beams and gradient effects for the NE2571 chamber and to provide beam quality conversion factors using Monte Carlo simulations of the PTW Roos and NE2571 ion chambers. Methods: The EGSnrc code system is used to calculate the absorbed dose-to-water and the dose to the gas in fully modeled ion chambers as a function of depth in water. Electron beams are modeled using realistic accelerator simulations as well as beams modeled as collimated point sources from realistic electron beam spectra or monoenergetic electrons. Beam quality conversion factors are calculated with ratios of the doses to water and to the air in the ion chamber in electron beams and a cobalt-60 reference field. The overall ion chamber correction factor is studied using calculations of water-to-air stopping power ratios. Results: The use of an effective point of measurement shift of 1.55 mm from the front face of the PTW Roos chamber, which places the point of measurement inside the chamber cavity, minimizes the difference between R50, the beam quality specifier, calculated from chamber simulations compared to that obtained using depth-dose calculations in water. A similar shift minimizes the variation of the overall ion chamber correction factor with depth to the practical range and reduces the root-mean-square deviation of a fit to calculated beam quality conversion factors at the reference depth as a function of R50. Similarly, an upstream shift of 0.34 rcav allows a more accurate determination of R50 from NE2571 chamber calculations and reduces the variation of the overall ion chamber correction factor with depth. The determination of the gradient correction using a shift of 0.22 rcav optimizes the root-mean-square deviation of a fit to calculated beam quality conversion factors if all beams investigated are considered. However, if only clinical beams are considered, a good fit to results for beam quality conversion factors is obtained without explicitly correcting for gradient effects. The inadequacy of R50 to uniquely specify beam quality for the accurate selection of kQ factors is discussed. Systematic uncertainties in beam quality conversion factors are analyzed for the NE2571 chamber and amount to between 0.4% and 1.2% depending on assumptions used. Conclusions: The calculated beam quality conversion factors for the PTW Roos chamber obtained here are in good agreement with literature data. These results characterize the use of an NE2571 ion chamber for reference dosimetry of electron beams even in low-energy beams.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Beam quality conversion factor, Dosimetry protocols, Electron beams, Ionization chamber, Monte carlo
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.4829577
Journal Medical Physics
Citation
Muir, B.R., & Rogers, D.W.O. (2013). Monte Carlo calculations for reference dosimetry of electron beams with the PTW Roos and NE2571 ion chambers. Medical Physics, 40(12). doi:10.1118/1.4829577