Experimental characterization of two-dimensional spot profiles for two proton pencil beam scanning nozzles

Liyong Lin, Christopher G. Ainsley, Timothy D. Solberg, James E. McDonough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Dose calculation for pencil beam scanning proton therapy requires accurate measurement of the broad tails of the proton spot profiles for every nozzle in clinical use. By applying a pair/magnification method and merging film data, 200 mm × 240 mm dose kernels extending to 10-4 of the central spot dose are generated for six selected energies of the IBA dedicated and universal nozzles (DN and UN). One-dimensional, circular profiles up to 100 mm in radius are generated from the asymmetric profiles to facilitate spot profile comparison. For the highest energy, 225 MeV, the output of both the DN and the UN for field sizes from 40 to 200 mm increases in parallel, slowest at the surface (∼1%) and fastest at a depth of 150 mm (∼9%). In contrast, at the lowest energy, 100 MeV, the output of the DN across the same range of field sizes increases 3-4% versus 6-7% for the UN throughout all the depths. The charge deficits in the measured depth-dose of Bragg peaks are similar between the UN and the DN. At 100 MeV, the field size factor difference at the surface between two orientations of a rectangular 40 mm × 200 mm field is 1.4% at isocentre for the DN versus 2% for the UN. Though the one-dimensional distributions are similar for the primary and tail components at different positions, the primary components of the DN spots are more elliptical 270 mm upstream than at isocentre.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-504
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 20 2014


  • commissioning
  • pencil beam scanning
  • proton therapy
  • treatment planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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