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Absolute measurement of LDR brachytherapy source emitted power:
Instrument design and initial measurements
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Energy-based source strength metrics may find use with model-based dose calculation
algorithms, but no instruments exist that can measure the
energy emitted from low-dose rate (LDR) sources. This work developed a
calorimetric technique for measuring the power emitted from
encapsulated low-dose rate, photon-emitting brachytherapy sources. This quantity
is called emitted power (EP). The measurement methodology, instrument design
and performance, and EP measurements made with the calorimeter are
presented in this work.
A calorimeter operating with a liquid helium thermal sink was
developed to measure EP from LDR brachytherapy sources. The calorimeter employed
an electrical substitution technique to determine the power emitted from the
source. The calorimeter’s performance and thermal system were characterized. EP
measurements were made using four 125I sources with
air-kerma strengths ranging from 2.3 to 5.6 U and corresponding EPs of 0.39–0.79
μW, respectively. Three Best Medical 2301 sources and one
Oncura 6711 source were measured. EP was also computed by
converting measured air-kerma strengths to EPs through Monte
Carlo-derived conversion factors. The measured EP and derived EPs were compared
to determine the accuracy of the calorimetermeasurement technique.
The calorimeter had a noise floor of 1–3 nW and a repeatability of
30–60 nW. The calorimeter was stable to within 5 nW over a 12 h
measurement window. All measured values
agreed with derived EPs to within 10%, with three of the four sources agreeing to
within 4%. Calorimetermeasurements had uncertainties ranging from 2.6% to 4.5% at the
k = 1 level. The values of the derived EPs had uncertainties ranging
from 2.9% to 3.6% at the k = 1 level.
A calorimeter capable of measuring the
EP from LDR sources has been developed and validated for 125I sources
with EPs between 0.43 and 0.79 μW.
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