National Research Council of Canada. Measurement Science and Standards
Optically stimulated luminescence; Al₂O₃:C; Proton therapy; Linear energy transfer; Radiation dosimetry
In this work we characterized the dose and linear energy transfer (LET) (ionization density) dependence of commercial Al₂O₃:C optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) detectors (OSLDs) exposed to clinical photon and proton beams. We characterized the dose-dependence of the OSL signal, OSL curve shape, and the relative intensities of the blue and ultraviolet (UV) OSL emission bands using different readout protocols and beam qualities. We irradiated OSLDs with absorbed doses ranging from 0.1 Gy to 100 Gy in a 6-MV photon beam and from 0.1 Gy to 50 Gy in 140- and 250-MeV proton beams. Readouts were done with both continuous-wave (CWOSL) and pulsed (POSL) stimulation. The linearity of the OSLD dose–response depended on readout protocol and radiation type. Improved linearity was found for OSLDs irradiated with beams of increased LET, and for OSL signals containing only the blue emission band of Al₂O₃:C (which remained linear for doses up to 10 Gy for 140-MeV proton beam irradiations). The OSL curve shape did not vary with dose in the low-dose region (below 5 Gy depending on readout protocol), but beyond this, curves decayed more rapidly with increasing dose. Similarly, the ratio of blue to UV emission band intensities in the OSL signal did not vary with dose up to 5 Gy (depending on readout protocol), beyond which the ratio decreased with increasing dose. Because both the OSL curve shape and the ratio of blue to UV emission intensities have been investigated as potential parameters for measurements of LET, the constancy of these two quantities at doses relevant to radiotherapy is encouraging for the potential development of novel OSL methods to measure LET. Our findings are expected to contribute to the development of (i) improved readout protocols for commercially available Al₂O₃:C OSLDs and (ii) methods to measure radiation quality and LET.