Solid Water as phantom material for dosimetry of electron backscatter using low-energy electron beams: A Monte Carlo evaluation

James C.L. Chow, Amir M. Owrangi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the dosimetry of electron backscatter when Solid Water is used to substitute water as phantom in electron radiotherapy. Monte Carlo simulation (EGSnrc-based code) was employed to predict electron energy spectra and depth doses for the 0.5 and 1 cm of Solid Water and water slabs above 3 mm of lead (Pb) layers using electron beams with energies of 4 and 6 MeV. For comparison, Monte Carlo simulations were repeated with Pb layers taken out from the phantoms using the same experimental configuration. Analyses on electron energy spectra for the 4 and 6 MeV electron beams showed that deviations of electron energy distributions between the Solid Water and water phantom were more significant in the high-energy range (i.e., close to the maximal electron energy) than the lower range corresponding to the electron backscatter. These deviations of electron energy spectra varied with depth and were mainly due to the electron fluence or beam attenuation. Dosimetry results from Monte Carlo simulations showed that the Solid Water phantom had lower depth dose compared to water with the same experimental setup. For the 4 MeV electron beams with 0.5 cm of Solid Water, depth doses were 1.8%-3.9% and 2.3%-4.4% lower than those in water, with and without the Pb layer underneath, respectively. Thicker Solid Water of 1 cm resulted in different decreases in depth doses of 1.8%-4.6% (with Pb) and 2.3%-4.4% (without Pb) compared to water. For higher nominal electron beam energy of 6 MeV with 0.5 cm of Solid Water, depth doses decreased 1.7%-2.9% (with Pb) and 1.6%-2.1% (without Pb) compared to water. These decreases in depth doses changed to 1.7%-3.7% (with Pb) and 1.7%-3% (without Pb) when the thickness of Solid Water was increased to 1 cm. The dosimetry data in this study are useful in determining the correction factor when using Solid Water to substitute water for the electron backscatter measurement in electron radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1587-1594
Number of pages8
JournalMedical physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Electron backscatter
  • Electron dosimetry
  • Electron energy spectrum
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • Solid Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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