Application of measured pencil beam parameters for electron beam model evaluation

Patrick D. Higgins, Bruce J. Gerbi, Faiz M. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Most current electron beam models, as are used in commercial treatment planning systems, combine measured broad beam central axis depth dose data with measured or modeled functions to approximate radial scatter and heterogeneity effects. In this paper, we extend a recently developed pencil beam model to calculate doses outside the field edge and doses in heterogeneous media. We have also explored use of this model as a tool for evaluating commercial electron planning programs. The algorithm we have developed, based on the concept of the lateral buildup ratio (LBR), enables calculation of dose at any point in an irregular electron field, and is capable of generating both on- and off-axis depth dose curves and isodose profiles. This model includes the effects of density and mass-angular scattering power in measured broad beam central axis depth dose data, which when combined with small field reference data, can be used to generate LBR ratios. From these ratios one can infer the depth dependent, effective pencil beam radial spread parameter σ in water or other materials, which can be used to model any arbitrary field. We have used this approach to calculate fractional depth doses for small fields incident on aluminum and cork, which we have then compared against measurements and the calculations of several commercial planning systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-520
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Electron modeling
  • LBR
  • Pencil beam
  • Small electron fields


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