Tutorials in Radiotherapy Physics: Advanced Topics with Problems and Solutions, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Tutorials in Radiotherapy Physics

Advanced Topics with Problems and Solutions, 1st Edition

By Patrick N. McDermott

CRC Press

302 pages | 52 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781482251678
pub: 2016-07-11
Hardback: 9781138445680
pub: 2017-07-27
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pub: 2016-08-19
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The Topics Every Medical Physicist Should Know

Tutorials in Radiotherapy Physics: Advanced Topics with Problems and Solutions covers selected advanced topics that are not thoroughly discussed in any of the standard medical physics texts. The book brings together material from a large variety of sources, avoiding the need for you to search through and digest the vast research literature. The topics are mathematically developed from first principles using consistent notation.

Clear Derivations and In-Depth Explanations

The book offers insight into the physics of electron acceleration in linear accelerators and presents an introduction to the study of proton therapy. It then describes the predominant method of clinical photon dose computation: convolution and superposition dose calculation algorithms. It also discusses the Boltzmann transport equation, a potentially fast and accurate method of dose calculation that is an alternative to the Monte Carlo method. This discussion considers Fermi–Eyges theory, which is widely used for electron dose calculations. The book concludes with a step-by-step mathematical development of tumor control and normal tissue complication probability models. Each chapter includes problems with solutions given in the back of the book.

Prepares You to Explore Cutting-Edge Research

This guide provides you with the foundation to read review articles on the topics. It can be used for self-study, in graduate medical physics and physics residency programs, or in vendor training for linacs and treatment planning systems.


"The application of radiation physics to medicine is an expanding multidisciplinary field based on knowledge, tools and techniques derived from nuclear and particle physics. This book will therefore appeal not only to curious medical physicists and scientists active in the fi eld, but also to physicists in general who – as the author comments – ‘like understanding’."

CERN Courier (Jan/Feb 2017)

Table of Contents

The Physics of Electron Acceleration in Medical Linacs


Maxwell’s Equations

Cylindrical Waveguides

Traveling Wave Accelerators I

Cavity Oscillations


Traveling Wave Accelerators II

Standing Wave Accelerators

Pulsed Operation and Waveforms

Frequency Stability and Fabrication of Waveguide Structures

Changing Beam Energy

Comparison between TW and SW Linacs

X-Band Linacs

Proton Therapy Physics: Protons for Pedestrians


Brief History

Interaction of Protons with Matter

Absorbed Dose and the Bragg Peak

A Few Words about Radiobiology

Circular Charged Particle Orbits and Stability

Proton Therapy Accelerators

Beam Transport and Gantries

Lateral and Axial Beam Spreading

Beam Calibration

Dose Calculation Algorithms


Dose Distributions

Radiation Shielding

New Developments


Convolution/Superposition Dose Computation Algorithms


Monoenergetic Beams, Homogeneous Medium

Convolution Integrals

Polyenergetic Beams, Homogeneous Medium

Incident Energy Fluence, Beam Modeling, and Primary Photon Transport

Point Dose Kernels

Analytical Derivation of a Point Kernel for Singly Scattered Photons


Pencil Beams

Patient Geometry

Collapsed Cone Convolution

Calculation of Monitor Units

Dose Calculation Speed

Pinnacle Treatment Planning System


Deterministic Radiation Transport: A Rival to Monte Carlo Methods


Absorbed Dose, Kerma, and Fluence

Differential Fluence

Calculation of Dose from Fundamental Radiometric Quantities

Transport Equation

Primary Radiation Consisting of Charged Particles

CSDA Approximation

Indirectly Ionizing Radiation

Efficacy of BTE-Based Dose Calculations

Fermi–Eyges Theory and Electron Pencil Beam Dose Calculations


Tumor Control and Normal Tissue Complication Probability Models in Radiation Therapy


Some Elements of Probability Theory


Normal Tissue Complication Probability

Tumor Control Probability

Probability of Uncomplicated Control


Problems, Questions, Symbols, References, and Endnotes appear at the end of each chapter.

About the Author

Patrick N. McDermott, PhD, is the director of physics education at Beaumont Health and an adjunct associate professor at Oakland University. He was previously an associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Wayne State University and a physicist at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. He is a fellow of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and a recipient of numerous teaching awards. He earned a PhD in physics and astronomy from the University of Rochester and an MS in radiological physics from Wayne State University. He is board certified in radiation oncology physics by the American Board of Medical Physics.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Biotechnology
MEDICAL / Radiology & Nuclear Medicine
SCIENCE / Physics