Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Medical Biophysics


Jordan, Kevin J.

2nd Supervisor

Battista, Jerry J.

Joint Supervisor


Optical computed tomography (CT) imaging of radiochromic gel dosimeters is a method for truly three-dimensional radiation dosimetry. Although optical CT dosimetry is not widely used currently due to previous concerns with speed and accuracy, the complexity of modern radiotherapy is increasing the need for a true 3D dosimeter. This thesis reports technical improvements that bring the performance of optical CT to a clinically useful level. New scanner designs and improved scanning and reconstruction techniques are described.

First, we designed and implemented a new light source for a cone-beam optical CT system which reduced the scatter to primary contribution in CT projection images of gel dosimeters from approximately 25% to approximately 4%. This design, which has been commercially implemented, enables accurate and fast dosimetry.

Second, we designed and constructed a new, single-ray, single-detector parallel-beam optical CT scanner. This system was able to very accurately image both absorbing and scattering objects in large volumes (15 cm diameter), agreeing within ∼1% with independent measurements. It has become a reference standard for evaluation of optical CT geometries and dosimeter formulations.

Third, we implemented and characterized an iterative reconstruction algorithm for optical CT imaging of gel dosimeters. This improved image quality in optical CT by suppressing the effects of noise and artifacts by a factor of up to 5.

Fourth, we applied a fiducial-based ray path measurement scheme, combined with an iterative reconstruction algorithm, to enable optical CT reconstruction in the case of refractive index mismatch between different media in the scanner’s imaged volume. This improved the practicality of optical CT, as time-consuming mixing of liquids can be avoided.

Finally, we applied the new laser scanner to the difficult dosimetry task of small-field measurement. We were able to obtain beam profiles and depth dose curves for 4 fields (3x3 cm2 and below) using one 15 cm diameter dosimeter, within 2 hours. Our gel dosimetry depth-dose curves agreed within ∼1.5% with Monte Carlo simulations.

In conclusion, the developments reported here have brought optical CT dosimetry to a clinically useful level. Our techniques will be used to assist future research in gel dosimetry and radiotherapy treatment techniques.