Beam characteristics of upper and lower physical wedge systems of Varian accelerators

Chee Wai Cheng, Walter L. Tang, Indra J. Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


The beam characteristics of a dual physical wedge system, upper and lower, for Varian accelerators are studied over the energy range 6-18 MV. Wedge factors for both systems are measured in a water phantom as a function of field size, depth and source-to-wedge (SWD) distance. Our results indicate that apart from their physical differences, dosimetrically, the two wedge systems have <2% difference in central axis percentage depth dose beyond the build-up region. The lower wedge central axis percentage depth dose is consistently lower than that of the corresponding upper wedge, with the effect more pronounced for large field sizes. The wedge profiles are identical within 2% for all field sizes, depths and energies. The wedge factors for both wedge systems are also within 2% for all field sizes and depths for both 6 and 15 MV photons and slightly higher for the 18 MV beam and 45°-60° wedge angle. The wedge factor variation with SWD reveals an interesting fact that thinner wedges (15° and 30°) result in a higher surface dose in the central axis region than thicker wedges. As the SWD increases beyond 80 cm, the reverse is true, i.e. thicker wedges produce higher surface dose than thinner wedges. It is also verified that the wedge factor at any depth and for any field size can be calculated from the wedged and open field central axis percentage depth dose, and the wedge factor at dmax, resulting in nearly 44% reduction in water phantom scanning and 80% reduction in point measurements during commissioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3667-3683
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 21 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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