Megavoltage imaging with lowZtargets: Implementation and characterization of an investigational system
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The poor quality of stereotactic radiotherapy portal images is a limiting factor in precise image registration. To alleviate this problem, a low atomic number (Z) target was implemented on our Siemens MXE linear accelerator. This investigational system was used to assess the performance of various target materials by filming an aluminum contrast object. Beryllium, carbon and conventional target materials were studied. The bremsstrahlung spectra of these materials were simulated using Monte Carlo techniques. These spectra were used to calculate the dependence of narrow beam contrast on phantom thickness for verification of the data measured from film. A Monte Carlo simulation of the beryllium spectrum in a wide beam geometry was used to evaluate the effect of phantom-to-film distance on contrast. Although the same degree of contrast improvement with distance was not realized in practice, the improvement in image quality rivaled that achieved using a scatter reduction grid. A comparison of conventional localization images of the head and neck of an anthropomorphic phantom with images produced with a beryllium or carbon target and a mammography film and screen system supports earlier suggestions that the technique is clinically useful.
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