Experimental investigation of a fast Monte Carlo photon beam dose calculation algorithm

Matthias Fippel, Wolfram Laub, Bernd Huber, Fridtjof Nüsslin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


An experimental verification of the recently developed XVMC code, a fast Monte Carlo algorithm to calculate dose distributions of photon beams in treatment planning, is presented. The treatment head is modelled by a point source with energy distribution (primary photons) and an additional head scatter contribution. Utility software is presented, allowing the determination of the parameters for this model using a single measured depth dose curve in water. The simple beam model is considered to be a starting point for more complex models being planned for future versions of the code. This paper is mainly focused on the influence of the different techniques on variance reduction and material property determination for dose distributions. It is demonstrated that XVMC and the simple beam model reproduce measured (by a diamond detector) relative dose distributions with an accuracy of better than ±2% in various homogeneous and inhomogeneous phantoms. Furthermore, relative dose distributions in solid state phantoms have been measured by film. Also for these cases, measured and calculated dose distributions agree within experimental uncertainty. The short calculation time (depending on voxel resolution, statistical accuracy, field size and energy, a span of 1 min to 1 h using a present-day personal computer) and an interface to a commercial planning system will allow the implementation of the code for routine treatment planning of clinical electron and photon beams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3039-3054
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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