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Med Phys. 2012 Apr;39(4):2108-18. doi: 10.1118/1.3691180.

A semiempirical linear model of indirect, flat-panel x-ray detectors.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA, USA.



It is important to understand signal and noise transfer in the indirect, flat-panel x-ray detector when developing and optimizing imaging systems. For optimization where simulating images is necessary, this study introduces a semiempirical model to simulate projection images with user-defined x-ray fluence interaction.


The signal and noise transfer in the indirect, flat-panel x-ray detectors is characterized by statistics consistent with energy-integration of x-ray photons. For an incident x-ray spectrum, x-ray photons are attenuated and absorbed in the x-ray scintillator to produce light photons, which are coupled to photodiodes for signal readout. The signal mean and variance are linearly related to the energy-integrated x-ray spectrum by empirically determined factors. With the known first- and second-order statistics, images can be simulated by incorporating multipixel signal statistics and the modulation transfer function of the imaging system. To estimate the semiempirical input to this model, 500 projection images (using an indirect, flat-panel x-ray detector in the breast CT system) were acquired with 50-100 kilovolt (kV) x-ray spectra filtered with 0.1-mm tin (Sn), 0.2-mm copper (Cu), 1.5-mm aluminum (Al), or 0.05-mm silver (Ag). The signal mean and variance of each detector element and the noise power spectra (NPS) were calculated and incorporated into this model for accuracy. Additionally, the modulation transfer function of the detector system was physically measured and incorporated in the image simulation steps. For validation purposes, simulated and measured projection images of air scans were compared using 40 kV∕0.1-mm Sn, 65 kV∕0.2-mm Cu, 85 kV∕1.5-mm Al, and 95 kV∕0.05-mm Ag.


The linear relationship between the measured signal statistics and the energy-integrated x-ray spectrum was confirmed and incorporated into the model. The signal mean and variance factors were linearly related to kV for each filter material (r(2) of signal mean to kV: 0.91, 0.93, 0.86, and 0.99 for 0.1-mm Sn, 0.2-mm Cu, 1.5-mm Al, and 0.05-mm Ag, respectively; r(2) of signal variance to kV: 0.99 for all four filters). The comparison of the signal and noise (mean, variance, and NPS) between the simulated and measured air scan images suggested that this model was reasonable in predicting accurate signal statistics of air scan images using absolute percent error. Overall, the model was found to be accurate in estimating signal statistics and spatial correlation between the detector elements of the images acquired with indirect, flat-panel x-ray detectors.


The semiempirical linear model of the indirect, flat-panel x-ray detectors was described and validated with images of air scans. The model was found to be a useful tool in understanding the signal and noise transfer within indirect, flat-panel x-ray detector systems.

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