The presence of a low-dose envelope, or 'halo', in the fluence profile of a proton spot can increase the output of a pencil beam scanning field by over 10%. This study evaluated whether the Monte Carlo simulation code, TOPAS 1.0-beta 8, based on Geant4.9.6 with its default physics list, can predict the spot halo at depth in phantom by incorporating a halo model within the proton source distribution. Proton sources were modelled using three 2D Gaussian functions, and optimized until simulated spot profiles matched measurements at the phantom surface out to a radius of 100 mm. Simulations were subsequently compared with profiles measured using EBT3 film in Solidwater® phantoms at various depths for 100, 115, 150, 180, 210 and 225 MeV proton beams. Simulations predict measured profiles within a 1 mm distance to agreement for 2D profiles extending to the 0.1% isodose, and within 1 mm/1% Gamma criteria over the integrated curve of spot profile as a function of radius. For isodose lines beyond 0.1% of the central spot dose, the simulated primary spot sigma is smaller than the measurement by up to 15%, and can differ by over 1 mm. The choice of particle interaction algorithm and phantom material were found to cause ∼1 mm range uncertainty, a maximal 5% (0.3 mm) difference in spot sigma, and maximal 1 mm and ∼2 mm distance to agreement in isodoses above and below the 0.1% level, respectively. Based on these observations, therefore, the selection of physics model and the application of Solidwater® as water replacement material in simulation and measurement should be used with caution.
- Monte Carlo simulation
- pencil beam scanning
- proton therapy
- treatment planning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging