A Sampling of Different LINAC Components and What They Do


A drive stand is a large part of a linear accelerator.  It is a cabinet in the shape of a rectangle that is attached to the floor within the treatment room.  The horizontal axis bearings that the gantry rotates on are positioned within the drive stand.

Components Within the Drive Stand

  • Klystron or Magnetron
  • RF Waveguide
  • Circulator
  • Cooling Water System

Klystron:

A Klystron is responsible for the microwave power that is used to accelerator the electrons.  This process occurs through intensification of present RF (Radio Frequency) electromagnetic waves.  The basic description of the operation of a Klystron is that it is a RF amplifier. A Klystron is often chosen for LINAC needing larger amounts of electron energy.

Magnetron:

A magnetron can be used in place of a Klystron.  A Magnetron is an electron tube that is responsible for providing the microwave power to accelerator electrons. A Magnetron is often chosen for LINAC needing smaller amounts of electron energy such as 4 MeV to 6 MeV LINAC.

RF Waveguide:

The structure in which the microwave powered RF electromagnetic waves are accelerated from the Klystron or Magnetron.

Circulator:

The circulator connects the Klystron or Magnetron to the RF Waveguide.

Cooling Water System:

A cooling system is in place to prevent overheating.  It creates a stable temperature environment within the Drive Stand and Gantry.

A gantry rotates three hundred and sixty degrees around a single point.  It works by directing the radiation beam from the LINAC to the tumor without moving the patient. 

Components Within the Gantry

  • Electron Gun
  • Accelerator Structure
  • Treatment Head

Treatment Head:

The treatment head of a linear accelerator encompass the components that shape and monitor the radiation beam.  These components include bending magnet, collimator, ion chambers, tray slots, wedges, blocks, and compensators.

Modulator Cabinet:

The modulator cabinet is the loudest components of a linear accelerator.  This component is located within the radiation treatment room.  The modulator cabinet includes a fan control, auxiliary power distribution system, and a primary power distribution system.  The fan control is used to cool off the power distribution systems.  The power distribution systems include the emergency off button to shut down the power to the LINAC.

Bending Magnet:

A bending magnet is a component of a LINAC that changes the direction of the beam down towards the patient.  It bends the beam towards the target and produces different paths for the beam for different energy needs. 

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