Whole body counter calibration using Monte Carlo modeling with an array of phantom sizes based on national anthropometric reference data

Phys Med Biol. 2011 May 21;56(10):2979-97. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/56/10/006. Epub 2011 Apr 13.


During construction of the whole body counter (WBC) at the Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC), efficiency calibration was needed to translate acquired counts of (40)K to actual grams of potassium for measurement of total body potassium (TBK) in a diverse subject population. The MCNP Monte Carlo n-particle simulation program was used to describe the WBC (54 detectors plus shielding), test individual detector counting response, and create a series of virtual anthropomorphic phantoms based on national reference anthropometric data. Each phantom included an outer layer of adipose tissue and an inner core of lean tissue. Phantoms were designed for both genders representing ages 3.5 to 18.5 years with body sizes from the 5th to the 95th percentile based on body weight. In addition, a spherical surface source surrounding the WBC was modeled in order to measure the effects of subject mass on room background interference. Individual detector measurements showed good agreement with the MCNP model. The background source model came close to agreement with empirical measurements, but showed a trend deviating from unity with increasing subject size. Results from the MCNP simulation of the CNRC WBC agreed well with empirical measurements using BOMAB phantoms. Individual detector efficiency corrections were used to improve the accuracy of the model. Nonlinear multiple regression efficiency calibration equations were derived for each gender. Room background correction is critical in improving the accuracy of the WBC calibration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Calibration
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Growth and Development
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Monte Carlo Method*
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • Reference Values
  • Whole-Body Counting / instrumentation*
  • Whole-Body Counting / standards*
  • Young Adult