Technical Note: Long-term monitoring of diode sensitivity degradation induced by proton irradiation

James E. Younkin, Daniel G. Robertson, Wei Liu, Yanle Hu, Danairis Hernandez Morales, Martin Bues, Jiajian Shen, Xiaoning Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To measure diode sensitivity degradation (DSD) induced by cumulative proton dose delivered to a commercial daily quality assurance (QA) device. Methods: At our institution, six Daily QA 3 (DQA3, Sun Nuclear Corporation, Melbourne, FL, USA) devices have been used for daily proton pencil beam scanning QA in four proton gantry rooms over a span of 4 years. DQA3 diode counts were cross-calibrated using a homogenous field with a known dose of 1 Gy. The DSD rate (ΔR%/100 Gy) was calculated using linear regression on time-series plots of diode counts and an estimate of cumulative dose per year based on the cross-calibration. The effect of DSD on daily QA spot position measurements was quantified by converting DSD to baseline spot position shift. Results: The average dose delivered to the four inner DQA3 diodes was 104 ± 5 Gy/year, and the rate of DSD was -5.1% ± 1.0/100 Gy with the exception of one DQA3 device that had a significantly higher rate of DSD (–12%/100 Gy). The R2s of the linear fit to time-series plots were between 0.92 and 0.98. The DSD rates were not constant but decreases with accumulated doses. The four center diodes, which received 40% of the cumulative dose received by inner diodes, had a DSD rate of –7.2% ± 0.9/100 Gy. For our daily QA program, 1 year of DSD was equivalent to a 0.2 mm shift in spot position. Conclusions: The DSD rate of DQA3 diodes determined by long-term proton daily QA data was about –5%/100 Gy, which is more than 10 times greater than the reported DSD rate from photon irradiation. DQA3 diodes may be used for daily proton QA programs, provided that they are recalibrated at an appropriate frequency that should be determined specifically for different daily QA programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6634-6641
Number of pages8
JournalMedical physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • daily QA
  • diode
  • diode sensitivity degradation
  • proton pencil beam scanning
  • proton spot position

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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