Physics in medicine and biology

Investigation of tetrakis hydroxymethyl phosphonium chloride as an antioxidant for use in x-ray computed tomography polyacrylamide gel dosimetry.

PMID 16552112


Of the antioxidants used to scavenge oxygen in polymer gel dosimeters, tetrakis (hydroxymethyl) phosphonium chloride (THPC) has been shown to hold great promise due to its rapid oxygen scavenging abilities. In this study we (a) investigate the use of THPC as an antioxidant for polyacrylamide gel (PAGAT) dosimeters used in conjunction with x-ray computed tomography (CT) and (b) work to establish the reaction mechanisms of THPC with the polymer gel constituents. We establish the dose response reproducibility of PAGAT dosimeters when imaged with CT and show that PAGAT dosimeters exhibit highly reproducible dose responses for a range of irradiation times post gel manufacture (2-6 h) and CT imaging times post gel irradiation (1-5 days). The THPC concentration within the gel leading to a maximized dose response and minimized O(2) inhibition of polymerization is found to be approximately 4.5 mM. We further assess the stability of PAGAT dosimeters by investigating the reactions of THPC with the individual gel constituents. The importance of utilizing deionized water in polymer gel manufacture is noted. We show that, while THPC remains unreactive with acrylamide and bis-acrylamide under unirradiated conditions, THPC can react with gelatin to increase the cross-linking of the gelatin matrix in unirradiated dosimeters. THPC reactions with gelatin can lead to the lower observed dose sensitivity of PAGAT (approximately 0.36 +/- 0.04 H Gy(-1)) as compared to polyacrylamide gels manufactured under anoxic conditions (approximately 0.83 +/- 0.03 H Gy(-1)). The reactions of THPC which lead to O(2) scavenging, and potential reactions of THPC with other gel constituents, are proposed.