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Phys Med Biol. 2009 Mar 21;54(6):1633-60. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/54/6/016. Epub 2009 Feb 25.

Direct determination of geometric alignment parameters for cone-beam scanners.

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Laboratoire Hubert Curien, Unité Mixte de Recherche CNRS and Université Jean Monnet, 18 Rue du Professeur Benoit Lauras, 42000 Saint Etienne, France.


This paper describes a comprehensive method for determining the geometric alignment parameters for cone-beam scanners (often called calibrating the scanners or performing geometric calibration). The method is applicable to x-ray scanners using area detectors, or to SPECT systems using pinholes or cone-beam converging collimators. Images of an alignment test object (calibration phantom) fixed in the field of view of the scanner are processed to determine the nine geometric parameters for each view. The parameter values are found directly using formulae applied to the projected positions of the test object marker points onto the detector. Each view is treated independently, and no restrictions are made on the position of the cone vertex, or on the position or orientation of the detector. The proposed test object consists of 14 small point-like objects arranged with four points on each of three orthogonal lines, and two points on a diagonal line. This test object is shown to provide unique solutions for all possible scanner geometries, even when partial measurement information is lost by points superimposing in the calibration scan. For the many situations where the cone vertex stays reasonably close to a central plane (for circular, planar, or near-planar trajectories), a simpler version of the test object is appropriate. The simpler object consists of six points, two per orthogonal line, but with some restrictions on the positioning of the test object. This paper focuses on the principles and mathematical justifications for the method. Numerical simulations of the calibration process and reconstructions using estimated parameters are also presented to validate the method and to provide evidence of the robustness of the technique.

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