Purpose: The objective of this work is to introduce a prototype fan-beam optical computed tomography scanner for three-dimensional (3D) radiation dosimetry.
Methods: Two techniques of fan-beam creation were evaluated: a helium-neon laser (HeNe, λ = 543 nm) with line-generating lens, and a laser diode module (LDM, λ = 635 nm) with line-creating head module. Two physical collimator designs were assessed: a single-slot collimator and a multihole collimator. Optimal collimator depth was determined by observing the signal of a single photodiode with varying collimator depths. A method of extending the dynamic range of the system is presented. Two sample types were used for evaluations: nondosimetric absorbent solutions and irradiated polymer gel dosimeters, each housed in 1 liter cylindrical plastic flasks. Imaging protocol investigations were performed to address ring artefacts and image noise. Two image artefact removal techniques were performed in sinogram space. Collimator efficacy was evaluated by imaging highly opaque samples of scatter-based and absorption-based solutions. A noise-based flask registration technique was developed. Two protocols for gel manufacture were examined.
Results: The LDM proved advantageous over the HeNe laser due to its reduced noise. Also, the LDM uses a wavelength more suitable for the PRESAGE(TM) dosimeter. Collimator depth of 1.5 cm was found to be an optimal balance between scatter rejection, signal strength, and manufacture ease. The multihole collimator is capable of maintaining accurate scatter-rejection to high levels of opacity with scatter-based solutions (T < 0.015%). Imaging protocol investigations support the need for preirradiation and postirradiation scanning to reduce reflection-based ring artefacts and to accommodate flask imperfections and gel inhomogeneities. Artefact removal techniques in sinogram space eliminate streaking artefacts and reduce ring artefacts of up to ∼40% in magnitude. The flask registration technique was shown to achieve submillimetre and subdegree placement accuracy. Dosimetry protocol investigations emphasize the need to allow gel dosimeters to cool gradually and to be scanned while at room temperature. Preliminary tests show that considerable noise reduction can be achieved with sinogram filtering and by binning image pixels into more clinically relevant grid sizes.
Conclusions: This paper describes a new optical CT scanner for 3D radiation dosimetry. Tests demonstrate that it is capable of imaging both absorption-based and scatter-based samples of high opacities. Imaging protocol and gel dosimeter manufacture techniques have been adapted to produce optimal reconstruction results. These optimal results will require suitable filtering and binning techniques for noise reduction purposes.