A novel silicon microdosimeter using 3D sensitive volumes: modeling the response in neutron fields typical of aviation
A 4th generation silicon microdosimeter has been designed by the Centre for Medical Radiation Physics (CMRP) at the University of Wollongong using three dimensional (3D) Sensitive Volumes (SVs). This new microdosimeter design has the advantage of well-defined 3D SVs as well as the elimination of lateral charge diffusion by removal of silicon laterally adjacent to the 3D SVs. The gaps between the sensitive volumes are to be backfilled with PolyMethyl MethAcrylate (PMMA) to produce a surrounding tissue equivalent medium. The advantage of this design avoids the generation of secondary particles from inactive silicon lateral to SVs. The response of the microdosimeter to the neutron field from 252 Cf, Pu-Be sources and an avionic radiation environment were simulated using the Geant4 Monte Carlo toolkit for design optimisation. The simulated energy deposition in the SVs from the neutron fields and microdosimetric spectra is presented. The simulation study shows a significant reduction in silicon nuclear recoil contribution to the energy deposition for the novel microdosimeter design. The reduction of silicon recoil events from outside of the SV's will consequently reduce the uncertainty in the calculated dose equivalent. The simulations have demonstrated that a 3D silicon microdosimeter surrounded by PMMA can produce microdosimetric spectra similar to those of a tissue equivalent microdosimeter.