Simulation and Analysis of Human Phantoms Exposed to Heavy Charged Particle Irradiations Using the Particle and Heavy Ion Transport System (PHITS)
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Anthropomorphic phantoms are commonly used for testing radiation fields without the need to expose human subjects. One of the most widely known is RANDO phantom. This phantom is used primarily for medical X-ray applications, but a similar design known as "MATROSHKA" is now being used for space research and exposed to heavy ion irradiations from the Galactic environment. Since the radiation field in the phantom should respond in a similar manner to how it would act in human tissues and organs under an irradiation, the tissue substitute chosen for soft tissue and the level of complexity of the entire phantom are crucial issues. The phantoms, and the materials used to create them, were developed mainly for photon irradiations and have not been heavily tested under the conditions of heavy ion exposures found in the space environment or external radiotherapy. The Particle and Heavy-Ion Transport code System (PHITS) was used to test the phantoms and their materials for their potential as human surrogates for heavy ion irradiation. Stopping powers and depth-dose distributions of heavy charged particles (HCPs) important to space research and medical applications were first used in the simulations to test the suitability of current soft tissue substitutes. A detailed computational anthropomorphic phantom was then developed where tissue substitutes and ICRU-44 tissue could be interchanged to verify the validation of the soft tissue substitutes and and determine the required level of complexity of the entire phantom needed to achieve a specified precision as a replacement of the human body. The materials tested were common soft tissue substitutes in use and the materials which had a potential for the soft tissue substitute. Ceric sulfate dosimeter solution was closest to ICRU-44 tissue; however, it was not appropriate as the phantom material because it was a solution. A150 plastic, ED4C (fhw), Nylon (Du Pont Elvamide 8062), RM/SR4, Temex, and RW-2 were within 1% of the mean normalized difference of mass stopping powers (or stopping powers for RW-2) when compared to the ICRU-44 tissue, and their depth-dose distributions were close; therefore, they were the most suitable among the remaining solid materials. Overall, the soft tissue substitutes which were within 1% of ICRU-44 tissue in terms of stopping power produced reasonable results with respect to organ dose in the developed phantom. RM/SR4 is the best anthropomorphic phantom soft tissue substitute because it has similar interaction properties and identical density with ICRU-44 tissue and it is a rigid solid polymer giving practical advantages in manufacture of real phantoms.