All irradiation experiments were carried out at the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, AZ. A Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator was used to irradiate the samples with x-rays and energy of 6 MV at a dose rate of 600 monitor units (MU)/min (6 Gy/min). For complete exposure of the samples to irradiation, gel nanosensors were placed within a 10 cm × 10 cm irradiation field. For studies on topographical dose distribution, only part (e.g., half) of the gel nanosensor was placed within the 10 cm × 10 cm irradiation field, while the rest was placed outside the field. After irradiation, the samples were analyzed further at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, AZ (travel time of approximately 30 min between the two institutions). Various quenching agents, Na2S and NaX, where X = Cl, Br, or I (650 μl of 5 mM), were investigated to arrest the nanoparticle formation reaction, resulting in restriction of gold nanoparticle formation to the irradiated region, which, in turn, facilitates topographical dose visualization. The quenching agents were added on top of the gel nanosensor 2, 5, 10, 20, or 30 min after irradiation (called “wait times”) and incubated for 10 min. The liquid on the surface was discarded after incubation, and the gel nanosensors were analyzed further for dose quantification.

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