Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Dr. Jacek G. Wierzbicki


Examination of neutron dosimetry for 252Cf has been conducted using calculative and experimental means. Monte Carlo N-ParticIe (MCNP) transport code was used in a distributed computing environment as a parallel virtual machine (PVM) to determine the absorbed neutron dose and neutron energy spectrum from 252Cf in a variety of clinically relevant materials. Herein, a Maxwellian spectrum was used to model the 252Cf neutron emissions within these materials. 252Cf mixed-field dosimetry of Applicator Tube (AT) type sources was measured using 1.0 and 0.05 cm3 tissue-equivalent ion chambers and a miniature GM counter. A dosimetry protocol was formulated similar that of ICRU 45. The 252Cf AT neutron dosimetry was determined in the cylindrical coordinate system formalism recommended by the AAPM Task Group 43. These results demonstrated the overwhelming dependance of dosimetry on the source geometry factor as there was no significant neutron attenuation within the source or encapsulation. Gold foils and TLDs were used to measure the thermal flux in the vicinity of 252Cf AT sources to compare with the results calculated using MCNP. As the fast neutron energy spectrum did not markedly changed at increasing distances from the AT source, neutron dosimetry results obtained with paired ion chambers using fixed sensitivity factors agreed well with MCNP results and those in the literature. Calculations of moderated 252Cf neutron energy spectrum with various loadings of 10B and 157Gd were performed, in addition to analysis of neutron capture therapy dosimetry with these isotopes. Radiological concerns such as personnel exposure and shielding of 252Cf emissions were examined. Feasibility of a high specific-activity 252Cf HDR source was investigated through radiochemical and metallurgical studies using stand-ins such as Tb, Gd, and 249Cf. Issues such as capsule burst strength due to helium production for a variety of proposed HDR sources were addressed. A recommended 252Cf source strength of at least 1 mg was necessary for fabrication of a 252Cf HDR source.