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The effective atomic number of dosimetric gels

  • M. L. Taylor
  • R. D. Franich
  • J. V. Trapp
  • P. N. Johnston
Scientific Note

Abstract

Radiological properties of gel dosimeters and phantom materials are often compared against each other and against water or tissue by consideration parameters including their effective atomic number, Zeff. Effective atomic numbers have been calculated for a range of ferrous-sulphate and polymeric gel dosimeters using mass attenuation coefficient data over the energy range 10 keV to 10 MeV. Data is presented relative to water to allow direct comparison over a range of energies. These data provide energy specific values of Zeff which improves on the practice of applying a power-law based formula to estimate an energy independent value. For applications that require a single value of Zeff, the data presented here allows the choice of a value appropriate to the energy of the photon source or a spectrum-weighted average. Studying the variation of Zeff, which is equivalent to taking into account the variation of mass attenuation coefficients with photon energy, it is found that gels typically match water better than water matches human tissues. As such, the subtle differences in effective atomic number between water and gels are small and may be considered negligible. Consideration of the mean disparity over a large energy range shows, broadly, BANG-1 to be the most water equivalent gel.

Key words

effective atomic number gel dosimeter water equivalence tissue equivalence 

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Copyright information

© Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Taylor
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. D. Franich
    • 1
  • J. V. Trapp
    • 3
  • P. N. Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied PhysicsRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.William Buckland Radiotherapy CentreThe Alfred HospitalPrahranAustralia
  3. 3.Physical and Chemical SciencesQUTBrisbaneAustralia

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