Purpose: The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of the magnetic field regulation in conjunction with the volumetric repainting technique on the spot positions and range in pencil beam scanning proton therapy.

Methods: "Field regulation" - a feature to reduce the switching time between layers by applying a magnetic field setpoint (instead of a current setpoint) has been implemented on the proton beam delivery system at the Miami Cancer Institute. To investigate the impact of field regulation for the volumetric repainting technique, several spot maps were generated with beam delivery sequence in both directions, that is, irradiating from the deepest layer to the most proximal layer ("down" direction) as well as irradiating from the most proximal layer to the deepest layer ("up" direction). Range measurements were performed using a multi-layer ionization chamber array. Spot positions were measured using two-dimensional and three-dimensional scintillation detectors. For range and central-axis spot position, spot maps were delivered for energies ranging from 70-225 MeV. For off-axis spot positions, the maps were delivered for high-, medium, and low-energies at eight different gantry angles. The results were then compared between the "up" and "down" directions.

Results: The average difference in range for given energy between "up" and "down" directions was 0.0 ± 0.1 mm. The off-axis spot position results showed that 846/864 of the spots were within ±1 mm, and all off-axis spot positions were within ±1.2 mm. For spots (n = 126) at the isocenter, the evaluation between "up" and "down" directions for given energy showed the spot position difference within ±0.25 mm. At the nozzle entrance, the average differences in X and Y positions for given energy were 0.0 ± 0.2 mm and -0.0 ± 0.4 mm, respectively. At the nozzle exit, the average differences in X and Y positions for given energy were 0.0 ± 0.1 mm and -0.1 ± 0.1 mm, respectively.

Conclusion: The volumetric repainting technique in magnetic field regulation mode resulted in acceptable spot position and range differences for our beam delivery system. The range differences were found to be within ±1 mm (TG224). For the spot positions (TG224: ±1 mm), the central axis measurements were within ±1 mm, whereas for the off-axis measurements, 97.9% of the spots were within ±1 mm, and all spots were within ±1.2 mm.

Keywords: magnetic field regulation; pencil beam scanning; proton energy; proton therapy; spot position; volumetric repainting.

Publication Date


Content Type


PubMed ID:


Additional Authors:

Additional authors and institutional affiliations


This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Association of Physicists in Medicine

Open Access

Available to all.