Purpose: The dose response of radiochromic dosimeters is based on radiation-induced chemical reactions and is thus likely to be thermally influenced. In this study we have therefore investigated the temperature dependence of the dose response for such dosimeters, regarding both irradiation and storage conditions.
Methods: Dosimeter samples in cuvettes were irradiated to 5 Gy. The temperature for the different cuvettes during irradiation and post-irradiation storage was varied in the range of 3-30 degrees C in order to quantify the temperature dependence of the dosimeter response. The optical properties of the dosimeter samples were measured using a spectrophotometer before irradiation as well as at several times after irradiation to quantify the temporal variation of dose response (expressed as the optical density change induced by irradiation) as a function of storage temperature.
Results: The measurements show considerable temperature dependencies of dose response both during irradiation and storage. Fit to an Arrhenius equation revealed an activation energy of 1.4 +/- 0.2 eV for the variation in irradiation temperature, indicating a contribution from a thermally activated process. Variation in dose response at different storage temperatures showed an exponential increase with time followed by a decrease in optical density. Exponential Arrhenius fits to rate constants gave activation energies of 1.7 +/- 0.2 eV for the increase in dose response and 2.3 +/- 0.5 eV for the subsequent decrease, in this case dominated by thermally activated processes.
Conclusions: Due to the exponential dependencies, stabilization of the dosimeter during irradiation at low temperatures (e.g., 5 degrees C) is preferable in clinical use to optimize the accuracy of the dose response. In addition, a low storage temperature is recommended in order to minimize the post-irradiation temporal change in dose response and thereby increase the post-irradiation stability of the dosimeter. The measurements in this study show that if the observed temperature and temporal dependencies are not considered, this could potentially deteriorate the accuracy of the dosimeter.