Application of a heterogeneous coarse-mesh transport method (COMET) to radiation therapy problems
Satterfield, Megan E.
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In recent years, there has been much improvement in radiation therapy delivery systems used in the treatment of cancer; however, in order to fully exploit this enhancement, the computational methodology associated with radiation therapy must improve as well. It is important to accurately determine where the radiation is depositing its energy within the patient. The treatment should allow for the maximal dose at the tumor site, while minimal radiation dose to the surrounding health tissue and structures. In the Computational Reactor and Medical Physics Group here at Georgia Tech, a heterogeneous coarse-mesh transport method (COMET) has been developed for neutron transport to analyze whole-core criticality. COMET decomposes a large, heterogeneous global problem into a set of small fixed source local problems. Response functions, or rather detailed solutions, are obtained for each unique local problem. These response functions are all precomputed and stored in a library. The solution to the global solution is then bound by a linear superposition of the local problems. In this project, COMET is applied for the first time to the transport of photons in human tissues. The parameter of interest in this case is the amount of energy (dose) deposition in tissue. To determine the strengths and weaknesses of the current system, it is important to construct benchmark problems for comparison. This project will encompass a number of benchmarks. The first will involve modeling a simple two-dimensional water phantom. A second benchmark problem involves the use of a heterogeneous phantom composed of different tissues. A third benchmark problem will involve transport through slabs of aluminum, water, and lung tissue. A last, more clinically relevant benchmark problem will involve using the data from a CT scan. For each of these cases the results from COMET will be compared to the computational results obtained from EGSnrc, a Monte Carlo particle transport code. In this study, it was found that generally the results using COMET were comparable with those obtained from the Monte Carlo solutions of EGSnrc. The COMET results were also typically found thousands of times faster than the reference solution.