Alignment of multiradiation isocenters for megavoltage photon beam

Yin Zhang, Kai Ding, Garth Cowan, Erik Tryggestad, Elwood Armour, Ken Kang Hsin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The accurate measurement of the linear accelerator (linac) radiation isocenter is critical, especially for stereotactic treatment. Traditional quality assurance (QA) procedure focuses on the measurement of single radiation isocenter, usually of 6megavoltage (MV) photon beams. Single radiation isocenter is also commonly assumed in treatment planning systems (TPS). Due to different flattening filters and bending magnet and steering parameters, the radiation isocenter of one energy mode can deviate from another if no special effort was devoted. We present the first experience of the multiradiation isocenters alignment on an Elekta linac, as well as its corresponding QA procedure and clinical impact. An 8 mm ball-bearing (BB) phantom was placed at the 6 MV radiation isocenter using an Elekta isocenter search algorithm, based on portal images. The 3D radiation isocenter shifts of other photon energy modes relative to the 6 MV were determined. Beam profile scanning for different field sizes was used as an independent method to determine the 2D multiradiation isocenters alignment. To quantify the impact of radiation isocenter offset on targeting accuracy, the 10 MV radiation isocenter was manually offset from that for 6 MV by adjusting the bending magnet current. Because our table isocenter was mechanically aligned to the 6 MV radiation isocenter, the deviation of the table isocentric rotation from the "shifted" 10 MV radiation isocenter after bending magnet adjustment was assessed. Winston-Lutz test was also performed to confirm the overall radiation isocenter positioning accuracy for all photon energies. The portal image method showed the radiation isocenter of the 10 MV flattening filter-free mode deviated from others before beam parameter adjustment. After the adjustment, the deviation was greatly improved from 0.96 to 0.35 mm relative to the 6 MV radiation isocenter. The same finding was confirmed by the profile-scanning method. The maximum deviation of the table isocentric rotation from the 10 MV radiation isocenter was observed to linearly increase with the offset between 6 and 10 MV radiation isocenter; 1 mm radiation isocenter offset can translate to almost 2 mm maximum deviation of the table isocentric rotation from the 10 MV radiation isocenter. The alignment of the multiradiation isocenters is particularly important for high-precision radiotherapy. Our study provides the medical physics community with a quantitative measure of the multiradiation isocenters alignment. A routine QA method should be considered, to examine the radiation isocenters alignment during the linac acceptance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-324
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of applied clinical medical physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015


  • Acceptance
  • Quality assurance
  • Radiation isocenter
  • Table rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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