31 March 2016 Detective quantum efficiency: a standard test to ensure optimal detector performance and low patient exposures
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Abstract
The detective quantum efficiency (DQE), expressed as a function of spatial frequency, describes the ability of an x-ray detector to produce high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) images. While regulatory and scientific communities have used the DQE as a primary metric for optimizing detector design, the DQE is rarely used by end users to ensure high system performance is maintained. Of concern is that image quality varies across different systems for the same exposures with no current measures available to describe system performance. Therefore, here we conducted an initial DQE measurement survey of clinical x-ray systems using a DQE-testing instrument to identify their range of performance. Following laboratory validation, experiments revealed that the DQE of five different systems under the same exposure level (8.0 μGy) ranged from 0.36 to 0.75 at low spatial frequencies, and 0.02 to 0.4 at high spatial frequencies (3.5 cycles/mm). Furthermore, the DQE dropped substantially with decreasing detector exposure by a factor of up to 1.5x in the lowest spatial frequency, and a factor of 10x at 3.5 cycles/mm due to the effect of detector readout noise. It is concluded that DQE specifications in purchasing decisions, combined with periodic DQE testing, are important factors to ensure patients receive the health benefits of high-quality images for low x-ray exposures.
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Terenz R. Escartin, Tomi F. Nano, Ian A. Cunningham, "Detective quantum efficiency: a standard test to ensure optimal detector performance and low patient exposures", Proc. SPIE 9783, Medical Imaging 2016: Physics of Medical Imaging, 97833W (31 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2217324; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2217324
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