Plastic scintillator (PS) has been proposed for both one- and two- dimensional (1D and 2D) dose measurements for radiation therapy applications. For low-energy photon modalities (e.g., brachytherapy), an efficient water equivalent scintillator is needed. To perform 2D measurements, a high localization of the scintillation process is required. Guided by comparison of the mass energy absorption coefficients as a function of energy and of the dose distribution as a function of distance from the radioactive source, as modeled by Monte Carlo photon transport simulation, a small quantity of medium atomic number (Z) atoms (4% Cl) was incorporated in a polyvinyl toluene (PVT) based PS to approximate closely (within 10%) the radiological properties of water in the 20-662 keV energy range. However, the scintillation efficiency of commercial PS mixtures drops as much as 70% when loaded with high atomic number additives. We developed experimental techniques to assess the scintillation efficiency and locality of 15 new PS mixtures: These mixtures differ by the type of the scintillation dyes and the type of compound containing the medium Z atoms (chlorine). To achieve higher material stability, 4-chlorostyrene was used as a loading compound to ensure polymerization with the PVT base. Two of the new PS materials exhibited scintillation efficiencies within 30% of one of the most efficient commercially available products (BC-400), which is not water equivalent at such low energies. These new scintillator materials are promising candidates for the development of an accurate and efficient radiation dosimetry method not only for brachytherapy, but also for superficial and diagnostic applications.
- Brachytherapy dosimetry
- Plastic scintillator