Monte Carlo portal dosimetry
This project developed a solution for verifying external photon beam radiotherapy. The solution is based on a calibration chain for deriving portal dose maps from acquired portal images, and a calculation framework for predicting portal dose maps. Quantitative comparison between acquired and predicted portal dose maps accomplishes both geometric (patient positioning with respect to the beam) and dosimetric (2D fluence distribution of the beam) verifications. A disagreement would indicate that beam delivery had not been according to plan. The solution addresses the clinical need for verifying radiotherapy both pre-treatment (without patient in the beam) and on-treatment (with patient in the beam). Medical linear accelerators mounted with electronic portal imaging devices (EPIDs) were used to acquire portal images. Two types of EPIDs were investigated: the amorphous silicon (a-Si) and the scanning liquid ion chamber (SLIC). The EGSnrc family of Monte Carlo codes were used to predict portal dose maps by computer simulation of radiation transport in the beam-phantom-EPID configuration. Monte Carlo simulations have been implemented on several levels of High Throughput Computing (HTC), including the Grid, to reduce computation time. The solution has been tested across the entire clinical range of gantry angle, beam size (5 cm x 5 cm to 20 cm x 20 cm), beam-patient and patient-EPID separations (4 cm to 38 cm). In these tests of known beam-phantom-EPID configurations, agreement between acquired and predicted portal dose profiles was consistently within 2% of the central axis value. This Monte Carlo portal dosimetry solution therefore achieved combined versatility, accuracy and speed not readily achievable by other techniques.
An intro to the lay(wo)man (191 KB .pdf)
Highlights from my PhD thesis: as presented during viva (623 KB .pdf)
My PhD story: as presented at the Royal Marsden / Institute of Cancer Research Nov 200 (.pdf)