Dependence of radiochromic film optical density post-exposure kinetics on dose and dose fractionation

I. Ali, C. Costescu, M. Vicic, J. F. Dempsey, Jeffrey F. Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Radiochromic film (RCF) has been shown to be a precise and accurate secondary planar dosimeter for acute exposure radiation fields. However, its application to low dose-rate brachytherapy has been questioned because of possible dose-rate effects. To address this concern, we have measured the optical density (OD) of Model 55-2 RCF as a function of time (interval between the completion of irradiation and densitometry using a 633 nm laser scanner) following exposure (from less than 1 hour to 90 days) for single and split doses from 1 Gy to 100 Gy. Our work demonstrates that film darkening as a function of post-irradiation time depends significantly on total dose, with films exposed to lower doses developing faster than films given higher doses. At 1 Gy, the OD 90 days after exposure is 200% larger than that measured 1 h after exposure compared to a 20% increase over 90 days for doses larger than 20 Gy. An empirical model with time-independent, fast and slow growth terms was used to fit single exposure data. The dependence of the resulting best-fit parameters on dose was investigated. Splitting the dose into two fractions (20 Gy followed by doses of 1-80 Gy 24 h later) results in modest post-irradiation time-dependent changes in the total optical density (at most 15% at small doses), which dissipates within 20 hours following the second exposure. This experimental finding is consistent with the predictions of a simple cumulative dose superposition model. Overall, both experimental and empirical modeling suggest that dose-rate effects may be relatively small despite the strong dependence of film darkening kinetics on total dose. However, more experimental evaluation of radiochromic film response dependence on dose rate and dose-time-fractionation patterns is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1958-1967
Number of pages10
JournalMedical physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


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