Stem effect of a Ce3+ doped SiO2 optical dosimeter irradiated with a 192Ir HDR brachytherapy source

Mauro Carrara, Chiara Tenconi, Roberta Guilizzoni, Marta Borroni, Claudia Cavatorta, Annamaria Cerrotta, Carlo Fallai, Grazia Gambarini, Anna Vedda, Emanuele Pignoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fiber-optic-coupled scintillation dosimeters are characterized by their small active volume if compared to other existing systems. However, they potentially show a greater stem effect, especially in external beam radiotherapy where the Cerenkov effect is not negligible. In brachytherapy, due to the lower energies and the shorter high dose range of the employed sources, the impact of the stem effect to the detector accuracy might be low. In this work, the stem effect of a Ce3+ doped SiO2 scintillation detector coupled to a SiO2 optical fiber was studied for high dose rate brachytherapy applications. Measurements were performed in a water phantom at changing source-detector mutual positions. The same irradiations were performed with a passive optical fiber, which doesn't have the dosimeter at its end. The relative contribution of the passive fiber with respect to the uncorrected readings of the detector in each one of the investigated source dwell positions was evaluated. Furthermore, the dosimeter was calibrated both neglecting and correcting its response for the passive fiber readings. The obtained absolute dose measurements were then compared to the dose calculations resulting from the treatment planning system. Dosimeter uncertainties with and without taking into account the passive fiber readings were generally below 2.8% and 4.3%, respectively. However, a particular exception results when the source is positioned near to the optical fiber, where the detector underestimates the dose (-8%) or at source-detector longitudinal distances higher than 3cm. The obtained results show that the proposed dosimeter might be adopted in high dose rate prostate brachytherapy with satisfactory accuracy, without the need for any stem effect correction. However, accuracy further improves by subtraction of the noise signal produced by the passive optical fiber.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-179
Number of pages5
JournalRadiation Physics and Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • HDR brachytherapy
  • In vivo dosimetry
  • Scintillation dosimeter
  • Stem effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation


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