The purpose of this work is to study the dose enhancement by a thin foil (thickness of 0.2-4 mm) of high-Z material in a water phantom, irradiated by high-energy photon beams. EGS4 Monte Carlo technique was used. Perturbations on the beam spectra due to the presence of the foils, and dose enhancement dependence of photon-beam quality, beam incident angle, atomic number (Z), the thickness and size of the foil, and the depth of the foil situated in the phantom were studied. Analysis of photon and secondary-electron spectra indicates that the dose enhancement near an inhomogeneity interface is primarily due to secondary electrons. A calculation for 1-mm-thick planar lead foil in a water phantom shows that the dose enhancements at 0.25, 1, 2 and 3 mm away from the foil in the backward region were 58%, 37%, 24% and 17%, respectively, for a 15 MV beam. Calculations for a variety of planar foils and photon beams show that dose enhancement: (a) increases with Z; (b) decreases with decreasing foil thickness when the foils are thinner than a certain value (1 mm for lead foil for 15 MV); (c) decreases with decreasing incident photon-beam energies; (d) changes slightly for beam incident angles less than 45 degrees and more prominently for larger angles; (e) increases with size of foil; and (f) is almost independent of the depth at which the foil is situated when the foil is placed beyond the range of secondary electrons. The dose enhancement calculation is also performed for a cylindrically shaped lead foil irradiated by a four-field-box. The dose enhancement of 34%/13% was obtained at 0.25/2 mm away from the cylindrical outer interface for a 15 MV four-field-box.
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