The optimization of pencil beam widths for use in an electron pencil beam algorithm
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Pencil beam algorithms for the calculation of electron beam dose distributions have come into widespread use. These algorithms, however, have generally exhibited difficulties in reproducing dose distributions for small field dimensions or, more specifically, for those conditions in which lateral scatter equilibrium does not exist. The work described here has determined that this difficulty can arise from the manner in which the width of the pencil beam is calculated. A unique approach for determining the pencil beam widths required to accurately reproduce small field dose distributions in a homogeneous phantom is described and compared with measurements and the results of other calculations. This method has also been extended to calculate electron beam dose distributions in heterogeneous media and the results of this work are presented. Suggestions for further improvements are discussed.
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