Electron contamination modeling and reduction in a 1 T open bore inline MRI-linac system

Oborn, B. M., Kolling, S., Metcalfe, P. E., Crozier, S., Litzenberg, D. W. and Keall, P. J. (2014) Electron contamination modeling and reduction in a 1 T open bore inline MRI-linac system. Medical Physics, 41 5: 051708-1-051708-15. doi:10.1118/1.4871618

Author Oborn, B. M.
Kolling, S.
Metcalfe, P. E.
Crozier, S.
Litzenberg, D. W.
Keall, P. J.
Title Electron contamination modeling and reduction in a 1 T open bore inline MRI-linac system
Journal name Medical Physics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0094-2405
Publication date 2014-05-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1118/1.4871618
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 41
Issue 5
Start page 051708-1
End page 051708-15
Total pages 15
Place of publication College Park MD, United States
Publisher American Institute of Physics
Language eng
Formatted abstract

A potential side effect of inline MRI-linac systems is electron contamination focusing causing a high skin dose. In this work, the authors reexamine this prediction for an open bore 1 T MRI system being constructed for the Australian MRI-Linac Program. The efficiency of an electron contamination deflector (ECD) in purging electron contamination from the linac head is modeled, as well as the impact of a helium gas region between the deflector and phantom surface for lowering the amount of air-generated contamination.


Magnetic modeling of the 1 T MRI was used to generate 3D magnetic field maps both with and without the presence of an ECD located immediately below the MLC’s. Forty-seven different ECD designs were modeled and for each the magnetic field map was imported into Geant4 Monte Carlo simulations including the linac head, ECD, and a 30 × 30 × 30 cm3 water phantom located at isocenter. For the first generation system, the x-ray source to isocenter distance (SID) will be 160 cm, resulting in an 81.2 cm long air gap from the base of the ECD to the phantom surface. The first 71.2 cm was modeled as air or helium gas, with the latter encased between two windows of 50 μm thick high density polyethlyene. 2D skin doses (at 70 μm depth) were calculated across the phantom surface at 1 × 1 mm2 resolution for 6 MV beams of field size of 5 × 5, 10 × 10, and 20 × 20 cm2.


The skin dose was predicted to be of similar magnitude as the generic systems modeled in previous work, 230% to 1400% of for 5 × 5 to 20 × 20 cm2, respectively. Inclusion of the ECD introduced a nonuniformity to the MRI imaging field that ranged from ∼20 to ∼140 ppm while the net force acting on the ECD ranged from ∼151 N to ∼1773 N. Various ECD designs were 100% efficient at purging the electron contamination into the ECD magnet banks; however, a small percentage were scattered back into the beam and continued to the phantom surface. Replacing a large portion of the extended air-column between the ECD and phantom surface with helium gas is a key element as it significantly minimized the air-generated contamination. When using an optimal ECD and helium gas region, the 70 μm skin dose is predicted to increase moderately inside a small hot spot over that of the case with no magnetic field present for the jaw defined square beams examined here. These increases include from 12% to 40% of for 5 × 5 cm2, 18% to 55% of for 10 × 10 cm2, and from 23% to 65% of for 20 × 20 cm2.


Coupling an efficient ECD and helium gas region below the MLCs in the 160 cm isocenter MRI-linac system is predicted to ameliorate the impact electron contamination focusing has on skin dose increases. An ECD is practical as its impact on the MRI imaging distortion is correctable, and the mechanical forces acting on it manageable from an engineering point of view.
Keyword MRI-linac
Electron contamination
Skin dose
Monte Carlo simulation
Magnetic deflector
Energy Photon Beams
Secondary Electrons
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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