Effect of transverse magnetic fields on dose distribution and RBE of photon beams: comparing PENELOPE and EGS4 Monte Carlo codes
The application of a strong transverse magnetic field to a volume undergoing irradiation by a photon beam can produce localized regions of dose enhancement and dose reduction. This study uses the PENELOPE Monte Carlo code to investigate the effect of a slice of uniform transverse magnetic field on a photon beam using different magnetic field strengths and photon beam energies. The maximum and minimum dose yields obtained in the regions of dose enhancement and dose reduction are compared to those obtained with the EGS4 Monte Carlo code in a study by Li et al (2001), who investigated the effect of a slice of uniform transverse magnetic field (1 to 20 Tesla) applied to high-energy photon beams. PENELOPE simulations yielded maximum dose enhancements and dose reductions as much as 111% and 77%, respectively, where most results were within 6% of the EGS4 result. Further PENELOPE simulations were performed with the Sheikh-Bagheri and Rogers (2002) input spectra for 6, 10 and 15 MV photon beams, yielding results within 4% of those obtained with the Mohan et al (1985) spectra. Small discrepancies between a few of the EGS4 and PENELOPE results prompted an investigation into the influence of the PENELOPE elastic scattering parameters C1 and C2 and lowenergy electron and photon transport cut-offs. Repeating the simulations with smaller scoring bins improved the resolution of the regions of dose enhancement and dose reduction, especially near the magnetic field boundaries where the dose deposition can abruptly increase or decrease. This study also investigates the effect of a magnetic field on the low-energy electron spectrum that may correspond to a change in the radiobiological effectiveness (RBE). Simulations show that the increase in dose is achieved predominantly through the lower energy electron population.