Dynamics of polymerization in polyacrylamide gel (PAG) dosimeters: (I) ageing and long-term stability.
Few quantitative data are available on the kinetics of polymerization reactions in polymer gel (PAG) dosimeters and their long-term stability. Post-irradiation polymerization reactions have been found to continue for several weeks, posing questions regarding dosimeter stability and its achievement. In this paper we report an investigation of polymerization kinetics in PAG dosimeters and the effect of diffusing oxygen into the dosimeter, post irradiation, as a potential method of inhibiting further polymerization and stabilizing the dose distribution. Results show continuous post-irradiation changes in transverse relaxation rate R2 with time over the five week study period and that a steady-state may not be reached for a period of months. An assessment is made of the appropriate time to image the dosimeter which shows that after three to four days the polymerization change is slow compared with imaging time. The implications of the time delay between irradiation and imaging are discussed in terms of the resultant sensitivity of the dosimeter and accuracy of the dose measured. In pairs of dosimeters, one sealed the other open to air, oxygen diffusing into the dosimeter arrests polymerization. However, the diffusion rate is too slow to make this method practicable. The slow diffusion means that while in regions near the air/gel interface polymerization is quickly arrested, in deeper regions it may continue for many hours, causing artefacts in the dose distribution. In the companion paper to this from a collaborating team, a study focusing on modelling oxygen diffusion in dosimeter gel will be presented.
McJury, M; Oldham, M; Leach, MO; Webb, S
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