A basic study of some normoxic polymer gel dosimeters

Y. De Deene*, C. Hurley, A. Venning, K. Vergote, M. Mather, B. J. Healy, C. Baldock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Citations (Scopus)


Polymer gel dosimeters offer a wide range of potential applications in the three-dimensional verification of complex dose distribution such as in intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). Until now, however, polymer gel dosimeters have not been widely used in the clinic. One of the reasons is that they are difficult to manufacture. As the polymerization in polymer gels is inhibited by oxygen, all free oxygen has to be removed from the gels. For several years this was achieved by bubbling nitrogen through the gel solutions and by filling the phantoms in a glove box that is perfused with nitrogen. Recently another gel formulation was proposed in which oxygen is bound in a metallo-organic complex thus removing the problem of oxygen inhibition. The proposed gel consists of methacrylic acid, gelatin, ascorbic acid, hydroquinone and copper(II)sulphate and is given the acronym MAGIC gel dosimeter. These gels are fabricated under normal atmospheric conditions and are therefore called 'normoxic' gel dosimeters. In this study, a chemical analysis on the MAGIC gel was performed. The composition of the gel was varied and its radiation response was evaluated. The role of different chemicals and the reaction kinetics are discussed. It was found that ascorbic acid alone was able to bind the oxygen and can thus be used as an anti-oxidant in a polymer gel dosimeter. It was also found that the anti-oxidants N-acetyl-cysteine and tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium were effective in scavenging the oxygen. However, the rate of oxygen scavenging is dependent on the anti-oxidant and its concentration with tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium being the most reactive anti-oxidants. Potentiometric oxygen measurements in solution provide an easy way to get a first impression on the rate of oxygen scavenging. It is shown that copper(II)sulphate operates as a catalyst in the oxidation of ascorbic acid. We, therefore propose some new normoxic gel formulations that have a less complicated chemical formulation than the MAGIC gel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3441-3463
Number of pages23
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


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