Technical note: Manufacturing of a realistic mouse phantom for dosimetry of radiobiology experiments.

November 29, 2018


The goal of this work was to design a realistic mouse phantom as a useful tool for accurate dosimetry in radiobiology experiments.


A subcutaneous tumor-bearing mouse was scanned in a microCT scanner, its organs manually segmented and contoured. The resulting geometries were converted into a stereolithographic file format (STL) and sent to a multi-material 3D printer. The phantom was split into two parts to allow for lung excavation and 3D-printed with an acrylic-like material and consisted of the main body (mass density ρ=1.18 g/cm3 ) and bone (mass density ρ=1.20 g/cm3 ). The excavated lungs were filled with polystyrene (ρ=0.32 g/cm3 ). Three cavities were excavated to allow the placement of a 1-mm diameter plastic scintillator dosimeter (PSD) in the brain, the center of the body and the subcutaneous tumor. Additionally, a laser-cut Gafchromic film can be placed in between the two phantom parts for 2D dosimetric evaluation. The expected differences in dose deposition between mouse tissues and the mouse phantom for a 220-kVp beam delivered by the small animal radiation research platform (SARRP) were calculated by Monte Carlo (MC).


MicroCT scans of the phantom showed excellent material uniformity and confirmed the material densities given by the manufacturer. MC dose calculations revealed that the dose measured by tissue-equivalent dosimeters inserted in the phantom in the brain, center of the body, and the subcutaneous tumor would be underestimated by 3-5%, which is deemed to be an acceptable error assuming the required 5% accuracy of radiobiological experiments.


The low-cost mouse phantom can be easily manufactured and, after a careful dosimetric characterization, may serve as a useful tool for dose verification in a range of radiobiology experiments. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Esplen N, Alyaqoub E, Bazalova-Carter M.

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