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Rofo. 2004 Dec;176(12):1803-10.

Performance evaluation of a 64-slice CT system with z-flying focal spot.

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Siemens Medical Solutions, Computed Tomography, Forchheim, Germany.


The meanwhile established generation of 16-slice CT systems enables routine sub-millimeter imaging at short breath-hold times. Clinical progress in the development of multidetector row CT (MDCT) technology beyond 16 slices can more likely be expected from further improvement in spatial and temporal resolution rather than from a mere increase in the speed of volume coverage. We present an evaluation of a recently introduced 64-slice CT system (SOMATOM Sensation 64, Siemens AG, Forchheim, Germany), which uses a periodic motion of the focal spot in longitudinal direction (z-flying focal spot) to double the number of simultaneously acquired slices. This technique acquires 64 overlapping 0.6 mm slices per rotation. The sampling scheme corresponds to that of a 64 x 0.3 mm detector, with the goal of improved longitudinal resolution and reduced spiral artifacts. After an introduction to the detector design, we discuss the basics of z-flying focal spot technology (z-Sharp). We present phantom and specimen scans for performance evaluation. The measured full width at half maximum (FWHM) of the thinnest spiral slice is 0.65 mm. All spiral slice widths are almost independent of the pitch, with deviations of less than 0.1 mm from the nominal value. Using a high-resolution bar pattern phantom (CATPHAN, Phantom Laboratories, Salem, NY), the longitudinal resolution can be demonstrated to be up to 15 lp/cm at the isocenter independent of the pitch, corresponding to a bar diameter of 0.33 mm. Longitudinal resolution is only slightly degraded for off-center locations. At a distance of 100 mm from the isocenter, 14 lp/cm can be resolved in the z-direction, corresponding to a bar diameter of 0.36 mm. Spiral "windmill" artifacts presenting as hyper- and hypodense structures around osseous edges are effectively reduced by the z-flying focal spot technique. Cardiac scanning benefits from the short gantry rotation time of 0.33 s, providing up to 83 ms temporal resolution with 2-segment ECG-gated reconstruction.

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