Waveguide detuning caused by transverse magnetic fields on a simulated in-line 6 MV linac

Med Phys. 2010 Sep;37(9):4751-4. doi: 10.1118/1.3480481.


Purpose: Due to the close proximity of the linear accelerator (linac) to the magnetic resonance (MR) imager in linac-MR systems, it will be subjected to magnet fringe fields larger than the Earth's magnetic field of 5 x 10(-5) T. Even with passive or active shielding designed to reduce these fields, some magnitude of the magnetic field is still expected to intersect the linac, causing electron deflection and beam loss. This beam loss, resulting from magnetic fields that cannot be eliminated with shielding, can cause a detuning of the waveguide due to excessive heating. The detuning, if significant, could lead to an even further decrease in output above what would be expected strictly from electron deflections caused by an external magnetic field. Thus an investigation of detuning was performed through various simulations.

Methods: According to the Lorentz force, the electrons will be deflected away from their straight course to the target, depositing energy as they impact the linac copper waveguide. The deposited energy would lead to a heating and deformation of the copper structure resulting in resonant frequency changes. PARMELA was used to determine the mean energy and fraction of total beam lost in each linac cavity. The energy deposited into the copper waveguide from the beam losses caused by transverse magnetic fields was calculated using the Monte Carlo program DOSRZnrc. From the total energy deposited, the rise in temperature and ultimately the deformation of the structure was estimated. The deformed structure was modeled using the finite element method program COMSOL MULTIPHYSICS to determine the change in cavity resonant frequency.

Results: The largest changes in resonant frequency were found in the first two accelerating cavities for each field strength investigated. This was caused by a high electron fluence impacting the waveguide inner structures coupled with their low kinetic energies. At each field strength investigated, the total change in accelerator frequency was less than a manufacturing tolerance of 10 kHz and is thus not expected to have a noticeable effect on accelerator performance.

Conclusions: The amount of beam loss caused by magnetic fringe fields for a linac in a linac-MR system depends on the effectiveness of its magnetic shielding. Despite the best efforts to shield the linac from the magnetic fringe fields, some persistent magnetic field is expected which would result in electron beam loss. This investigation showed that the detuning of the waveguide caused by additional electron beam loss in persistent magnetic fields is not a concern.

MeSH terms

  • Electrons
  • Magnetics*
  • Temperature