This 5-part animated web series provides a comprehensive overview of most of the interesting physics involved in radiation oncology. The lessons are 5 to 8 minutes long and are designed to present clinicians with practical physics information, in a condensed format. The course is aimed at radiation oncology residents, but was created with all radiation oncology trainees in mind.



This lesson provides an overview of how linear accelerators generate electrons and x-rays to treat cancer cells. Bremsstrahlung radiation, x-ray interactions, oxygen free radicals and DNA double-strand breaks are all introduced in this overview of the physics of radiation oncology.


This lesson describes how high energy x-rays interact with matter and what governs each type of interaction. Atomic structure, the photoelectric effect, the Compton effect and pair production are all introduced in this detailed description of x-ray interactions.

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LESSON 3: ELECTRON Interactions

This lesson illustrates how electrons interact with matter after being liberated by high energy x-rays. Bremsstrahlung radiation is revisited to explain x-ray production, and ionization is discussed to introduce how energy is transferred from electrons to the medium.

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Lesson 4: Dose Deposition

This lesson describes how x-ray and electron interactions result in absorbed dose in patients. Ion pairs, kerma and dose are all explained, and the concepts of percent depth dose and tissue-maximum ratio are introduced in this detailed description of dose deposition. 

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Lesson 5: Dosimetry and MU Calcs

The final lesson relies on the concepts discussed in the previous lectures to explain the basics of dosimetry and monitor unit calculations. Field size, source-to-surface distance and dose deposition are all discussed to provide an overview of how treatment plans are created.


For more information, contact Todd Atwood PhD or Derek Brown PhD.
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