The effect of ambient pressure on well chamber response: experimental results with empirical correction factors.
For some air-communicating well-type chambers used for low-energy brachytherapy source assay, deviations from expected values of measured air kerma strength were observed at low pressures associated with high altitudes. This effect is consistent with an overcompensation by the air density correction to standard atmospheric temperature and pressure (P(TP)). This work demonstrates that the P(TP) correction does not fully compensate for the high altitude pressure effects that are seen with air-communicating chambers at low photon energies in the range of 20-100 keV. Deviations of up to 18% at a pressure corresponding to an approximate elevation of 8500 ft for photon energies of 20 keV are possible. For high-energy photons and for high-energy beta emitters in air-communicating chambers the P(TP) factor is applicable. As expected, the ambient pressure does not significantly affect the response of pressurized well chambers (within 1%) to either low- or high-energy photons. However, when used with beta emitters, pressurized chambers appear to exhibit a slight dependence on the ambient pressure. Using measured data, the response and correction factors were determined for three models of air-communicating well chambers for low-energy photon sources at various pressures corresponding to elevations above sea level. Monte Carlo calculations were also performed which were correlated with the experimental findings. A more complete study of the Monte Carlo calculations is presented in the accompanying paper, "The effect of ambient pressure on well chamber response: Monte Carlo calculated results for the HDR1000 Plus."
Griffin, SL; DeWerd, LA; Micka, JA; Bohm, TD
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