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Med Phys. 2009 Nov;36(11):5107-19.

Photon counting multienergy x-ray imaging: effect of the characteristic x rays on detector performance.

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1
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Imaging Physics Laboratory, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA. pshikhal@lsu.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this work was to investigate the effect of characteristic x rays on the performance of photon counting detectors for multienergy x-ray imaging. X-ray and CT systems with photon counting detectors have compelling advantages compared to energy integrating detectors, and cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) detector is the detector of choice. However, current CZT detectors exhibit several limitations that hamper their practical applications. These limitations include hole trapping, high leakage current, and charge sharing between detector pixels. Charge sharing occurs due to the diffusion of charge when it drifts toward the pixel electrodes. It also occurs due to nonlocal reabsorption of characteristic and scattered x rays created in the detector volume. Hole trapping, leakage current, and charge diffusion may potentially have technical solutions. Characteristic x-ray escape and scatter, however, are fundamental in nature and cannot be easily addressed. The x-ray scatter in the CZT material is small at photon energies used in x-ray imaging. Therefore, the remaining major factor is characteristic x ray.

METHODS:

Monte Carlo simulations were used for this study. An experimental photon counting multienergy x-ray imaging system was used to compare simulations to experimental results. An x-ray spectrum at 120 kVp tube voltage was used. The x-ray energy range was split into five subregions (energy bins) and Monte Carlo simulations were performed at average x-ray energies corresponding to these energy bins. The detector pixel size was changed within the 0.1-1 mm range, which covered all possible applications including radiography and CT imaging. The pixel shapes included square and strip pixels. For strip pixels, tilted angle irradiation of the CZT detector was also investigated.

RESULTS:

The characteristic x rays escaped the pixels in approximately 70% of all x-ray interactions for the smallest pixel size of 0.1 mm. The escape fraction decreased to 20% for the largest pixel size of 1 mm. All escape fractions, for all pixel sizes, at five energies, for square and strip pixels, and at three tilt angles were calculated and presented in tables. Simulated and measured spectra at 120 kVp were compared.

CONCLUSIONS:

Characteristic x-ray escape deteriorates energy and spatial resolution, particularly for small pixel sizes. Correction methods should be developed based on the results of the simulations and experimental study.

PMID:
19994521
DOI:
10.1118/1.3245875
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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