Validation of a precision rediochromic film dosimetry system for quantitative two-dimensional imaging of acute exposure dose distributions

J. F. Dempsey, D. A. Low, S. Mutic, J. Markman, A. S. Kirov, G. H. Nussbaum, J. F. Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


We present an evaluation of the precision and accuracy of image-based radiochromic film (RCF) dosimetry performed using a commercial RCF product (Gafchromic MD-55-2, Nuclear Associates, Inc.) and a commercial high-spatial resolution (100 μm pixel size) He-Ne scanning-laser film-digitizer (Personal Densitometer, Molecular Dynamics, Inc.) as an optical density (OD) imaging system. The precision and accuracy of this dosimetry system are evaluated by performing RCF imaging dosimetry in well characterized conformal external beam and brachytherapy high dose-rate (HDR) radiation fields. Benchmarking of image-based RCF dosimetry is necessary due to many potential errors inherent to RCF dosimetry including: a temperature-dependent time evolution of RCF dose response; nonuniform response of RCF; and optical-polarization artifacts. In addition, laser-densitometer imaging artifacts can produce systematic OD measurement errors as large as 35% in the presence of high OD gradients. We present a RCF exposure and readout protocol that was developed for the accurate dosimetry of high dose rate (HDR) radiation sources. This protocol follows and expands upon the guidelines set forth by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Task Group 55 report. Particular attention is focused on the OD imaging system, a scanning-laser film digitizer, modified to eliminate OD artifacts that were not addressed in the AAPM Task Group 55 report. RCF precision using this technique was evaluated with films given uniform 6 MV x-ray doses between 1 and 200 Gy. RCF absolute dose accuracy using this technique was evaluated by comparing RCF measurements to small volume ionization chamber measurements for conformal external-beam sources and an experimentally validated Monte Carlo photontransport simulation code for a 192Ir brachytherapy source. Pixel-to-pixel standard deviations of uniformly irradiated films were less than 1% for doses between 10 and 150 Gy; between 1% and 5% for lower doses down to 1 Gy and 1% and 1.5% for higher doses up to 200 Gy. Pixel averaging to form 200-800 μm pixels reduces these standard deviations by a factor of 2 to 5. Comparisons of absolute dose show agreement within 1.5%-4% of dose benchmarks, consistent with a highly accurate dosimeter limited by its observed precision and the precision of the dose standards to which it is compared. These results provide a comprehensive benchmarking of RCF, enabling its use in the commissioning of novel HDR therapy sources. (C) 2000 American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2462-2475
Number of pages14
JournalMedical physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2000


  • Brachytherapy dosimetry
  • Conformal therapy dosimetry
  • GafChromic film model MD-55
  • HDR remote afterloading system
  • IMRT
  • Monte Carlo photon transport simulation
  • Radiochromic film dosimetry


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