Transport and interaction of electromagnetic radiation
Interaction models and simulation schemes implemented in modern Monte Carlo codes for the simulation of coupled electron-photon transport will be briefly reviewed. In these codes, photon transport is simulated by using the detailed scheme, i.e., interaction by interaction. Detailed simulation is easy to implement, and the reliability of the results is only limited by the accuracy of the adopted cross sections. Simulations of electron and positron transport are more difficult, because these particles undergo a large number of interactions in the course of their slowing down. Different schemes for simulating electron transport will be discussed. Condensed algorithms, which rely on multiple-scattering theories, are comparatively fast, but less accurate than mixed algorithms, in which hard interactions (with energy loss or angular deflection larger than certain cut-off values) are simulated individually. The reliability, and limitations, of electron-interaction models and multiple-scattering theories will be analyzed. Benchmark comparisons of simulation results and experimental data will also be presented, together with examples from applications in radiotherapy, detector response studies and microanalysis.