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22 March 2010 ChromAIX: a high-rate energy-resolving photon-counting ASIC for spectal computed tomography
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Abstract
In Computed Tomography applications a major opportunity has been identified in the exploitation of the spectral information inherently available due to the polychromatic emission of the X-ray tube. Current CT technology based on indirect-conversion and integrating-mode detection can be used to some extent to distinguish the two predominant physical causes of energy-dependent attenuation (photo-electric effect and Compton effect) by using dual-energy techniques, e.g. kVp switching, dual-source or detector stacking. Further improvements can be achieved by transitioning to direct-conversion technologies and counting-mode detection, which inherently exhibits a better signal-to-noise ratio. Further including energy discrimination, enables new applications, which are not feasible with dual-energy techniques, e.g. the possibility to discriminate K-edge features (contrast agents, e.g. Gadolinium) from the other contributions to the x-ray attenuation of a human body. The capability of providing energy-resolved information with more than two different measurements is referred to as Spectral CT. To study the feasibility of Spectral CT, an energy-resolving proprietary photon counting ASIC (ChromAIX) has been designed to provide high count-rate capabilities while offering energy discrimination. The ChromAIX ASIC consists of an arrangement of 4 by 16 pixels with an isotropic pitch of 300 μm. Each pixel contains a number of independent energy discriminators with their corresponding 12-bit counters with continuous read-out capability. Observed Poissonian count-rates exceeding 10 Mcps (corresponding to approximately 27 Mcps incident mean Poisson rate) have been experimentally validated through electrical characterization. The measured noise of 2.6 mVRMS (4 keV FWHM) adheres to specifications. The ChromAIX ASIC has been specifically designed to support direct-converting materials CdZnTe and CdTe.
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Roger Steadman, Christoph Herrmann, Oliver Mülhens, Dale G. Maeding, James Colley, Ted Firlit, Randy Luhta, Marc Chappo, Brian Harwood, and Doug Kosty "ChromAIX: a high-rate energy-resolving photon-counting ASIC for spectal computed tomography", Proc. SPIE 7622, Medical Imaging 2010: Physics of Medical Imaging, 762220 (22 March 2010); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.844222
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