Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Major Professor

William E. Lee III, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Harvey M. Greenberg, M.D.

Committee Member

Geoffrey Zhang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kenneth M. Forster, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kent H. Larsen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Paris H. Wiley, Ph.D.


Skin Dose, Compensator-Based IMRT, Helical TomoTherapy, Monte CarloSimulations, Chamber Measurements, Breast Cancer, Radiotherapy, Dosimetry, BuildupDose, Step Jig, MLC-Based IMRT


Buildup dose of Mega Voltage (MV) photon beams can be a limiting factor in intensitymodulated radiation therapy (IMRT) treatments. Excessive doses can cause patient discomfort and treatment interruptions, while underdosing may lead to local failure.

Many factors which contribute to buildup dose, including the photon beam energy spectrum, scattered or contaminant radiation and their angular distribution, are not modeled well in commercial treatment planning systems. The accurate Monte Carlo method was employed in the studies to estimate the doses.

Buildup dose of 6MV photon beams was investigated for three fundamentally different IMRT modalities: between Helical TomoTherapy and traditional opposed tangential beams, solid IMRT and multileaf collimator (MLC)-based IMRT techniques. Solid IMRT, as an alternative to MLC, achieves prescription dose distribution objectives, according to our study.

Measurements and Monte Carlo calculations of buildup dose in chest wall treatment were compared between TomoTherapy IMRT and traditional tangential-beam technique. The effect of bolus in helical delivery was also investigated in this study.

In addition, measurements and Monte Carlo calculations of buildup dose in solid IMRT and MLC based IMRT treatment modalities were compared. A brass step compensator was designed and built for the solid IMRT. Matching MLC step sequences were used for the MLC IMRT.

This dissertation also presents the commissioning of a Monte Carlo code system, BEAMnrc, for a Varian Trilogy linear accelerator (LINAC) and the application in buildup dose calculation. Scattered dose components, MLC component dose and mean spectral energy for the IMRT treatment techniques were analyzed.

The agreement between measured 6MV and calculated depth dose and beam profiles was (± 1% or ±1 mm) for 10x10 and 40x40 cm2 fields. The optimum electron beam energy and its radial distribution incident on tungsten target were found to be 6 MeV and 1 mm respectively.

The helical delivery study concluded that buildup dose is higher with TomoTherapy compared to the opposed tangential technique in chest wall treatment. The solid and MLC IMRT comparison concluded that buildup dose was up to 7% lower for solid IMRT compared to MLC IMRT due to beam hardening of brass.