A graphite calorimeter for absolute measurements of absorbed dose to water: Application in medium-energy x-ray filtered beams

M. Pinto, M. Pimpinella, M. Quini, M. D'Arienzo, I. Astefanoaei, S. Loreti, A.S. Guerra

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The Italian National Institute of Ionizing Radiation Metrology (ENEA-INMRI) has designed and built a graphite calorimeter that, in a water phantom, has allowed the determination of the absorbed dose to water in medium-energy x-rays with generating voltages from 180 to 250 kV. The new standard is a miniaturized three-bodies calorimeter, with a disc-shaped core of 21 mm diameter and 2 mm thickness weighing 1.134 g, sealed in a PMMA waterproof envelope with air-evacuated gaps. The measured absorbed dose to graphite is converted into absorbed dose to water by means of an energy-dependent conversion factor obtained from Monte Carlo simulations. Heat-transfer correction factors were determined by FEM calculations. At a source-to-detector distance of 100 cm, a depth in water of 2 g cm-2, and at a dose rate of about 0.15 Gy min-1, results of calorimetric measurements of absorbed dose to water, Dw, were compared to experimental determinations, DwK, obtained via an ionization chamber calibrated in terms of air kerma, according to established dosimetry protocols. The combined standard uncertainty of Dwand DwKwere estimated as 1.9% and 1.7%, respectively. The two absorbed dose to water determinations were in agreement within 1%, well below the stated measurement uncertainties. Advancements are in progress to extend the measurement capability of the new in-water-phantom graphite calorimeter to other filtered medium-energy x-ray qualities and to reduce the Dwuncertainty to around 1%. The new calorimeter represents the first implementation of in-water-phantom graphite calorimetry in the kilovoltage range and, allowing independent determinations of Dw, it will contribute to establish a robust system of absorbed dose to water primary standards for medium-energy x-ray beams.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1738
Pages (from-to)1738 - 1764
Number of pages27
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

Cite this

Pinto, M., Pimpinella, M., Quini, M., D'Arienzo, M., Astefanoaei, I., Loreti, S., & Guerra, A. S. (2016). A graphite calorimeter for absolute measurements of absorbed dose to water: Application in medium-energy x-ray filtered beams. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 61(4), 1738 - 1764. [1738]. https://doi.org/10.1088/0031-9155/61/4/1738