Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
W. V. Prestwich
This work quantifies the changes effected in electron absorbed dose to a soft-tissue equivalent medium when part of this medium is replaced by a material that is not soft-tissue equivalent. That is, heterogeneous dosimetry is addressed. Radionuclides which emit beta particles are the electron sources of primary interest. They are used in brachytherapy and in nuclear medicine: for example, beta-ray applicators made with strontium-90 are employed in certain ophthalmic treatments and iodine-131 is used to test thyroid function. More recent medical procedures under development and which involve beta radionuclides include radioimmunotherapy and radiation synovectomy; the first is a cancer modality and the second deals with the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, the possibility of skin surface contamination exists whenever there is handling of radioactive material. Determination of absorbed doses in the examples of the preceding paragraph requires considering boundaries of interfaces. Whilst the Monte Carlo method can be applied to boundary calculations, for routine work such as in clinical situations, or in other circumstances where doses need to be determined quickly, analytical dosimetry would be invaluable. Unfortunately, few analytical methods for boundary beta dosimetry exist. Furthermore, the accuracy of results from both Monte Carlo and analytical methods has to be assessed. Although restricted to one radionuclide, phosphorus-32, the experimental data obtained in this work serve several purposes, one of which is to provide standards against which calculated results can be tested. The experimental data also contribute to the relatively sparse set of published boundary dosimetry data. At the same time, they may be useful in developing analytical boundary dosimetry methodology. The first application of the experimental data is demonstrated. Results from two Monte Carlo codes and two analytical methods, which were developed elsewhere, are compared with experimental data. Monte Carlo results compare satisfactory with experimental results for the boundaries considered. The agreement with experimental results for air interfaces is of particular interest because of discrepancies reported previously by another investigator who used data obtained from a different experimental technique. Results from one of the analytical methods differ significantly from the experimental data obtained here. The second analytical method provided data which approximate experimental results to within 30%. This is encouraging but it remains to be determined whether this method performs equally well for other source energies.
Nunes, Josane C., "Boundary electron and beta dosimetry-quantification of the effects of dissimilar media on absorbed dose" (1991). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3633.