The use of high-energy linear electron accelerators (LINACs) for medical cancer treatments is widespread on an international scale. The associated bremsstrahlung X rays may produce neutrons as a result of subsequent photonuclear reactions with the different materials constituting the accelerator head. The generated neutron field is highly variable and depends strongly on the beam energy, on the accelerator shielding, on the flattering filter as well as on the movable collimators (jaws) design and on the irradiation field geometry. An estimate of this photoneutron component is, thus, of practical interest to quantify the radiological risk for the working staff and patients. Due to high frequency electromagnetic fields, and also to the presence of abundant leaked and scattered photons in these installations, measurements of the corresponding neutron fields by active dosemeters are extremely difficult. A modified version of the Bonner sphere system, based on passive gold activation detectors, has been used to perform neutron measurements at two points in a Varian 2100C LINAC facility. A home-made unfolding procedure (CDM) has been utilised to determine the neutron spectra present at the measurement points. Results indicate that the giant dipole resonance process is the most adequate model to explain neutron production in the LINAC and that a thermal component is present at the measurement points. © The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
|Journal||Radiation Protection Dosimetry|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2007|