Radio frequency noise from clinical linear accelerators

Phys Med Biol. 2009 Apr 21;54(8):2483-92. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/54/8/015. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


There is a great deal of interest in image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), and to advance the state of IGRT, an integrated linear accelerator-magnetic resonance (linac-MR) system has been proposed. Knowledge of the radiofrequency (RF) emissions near a linac is important for the design of appropriate RF shielding to facilitate the successful integration of these two devices. The frequency spectra of both electric and magnetic fields of RF emission are measured using commercially available measurement probes near the treatment couch in three clinical linac vaults with distinct physical layouts. The magnitude spectrum of the RF power emitted from these three linacs is then estimated. The electric field spectrum was also measured at several distances from the linac modulator in order to assess the effects of variations in spatial location in the treatment vault. A large fraction of RF power is emitted at frequencies below 5 MHz. However, the measured RF power at the Larmor frequency (8.5 MHz) of the proposed 0.2 T MR in the linac-MR (0.4-14.6 microW m(-2)) is still large enough to cause artifacts in MR images. Magnetron-based linacs generally emit much larger RF power than klystron-based linacs. In the frequency range of 1-50 MHz, only slight variation in the measured electric field is observed as a function of measurement position. This study suggests that the RF emissions are strong enough to cause image artifacts in MRI systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts*
  • Electricity
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*