Photon counting detectors are expected to be the next big step in the development of medical computed tomography. Accurate modeling of the behavior of photon counting detectors in the high count rate regime is therefore important for detector performance evaluations and the development of accurate image reconstruction methods. The commonly used ideal nonparalyzable detector model is based on the assumption that photon interactions are converted to pulses with zero extent in time, which is too simplistic to accurately predict the behavior of photon counting detectors in both low and high count rate regimes. In this work we develop a statistical count model for a nonparalyzable detector with finite pulse length and use it to derive the asymptotic mean and variance of the output count distribution using tools from renewal theory. We use the statistical moments of the distribution to construct an estimator of the true number of counts for pileup correction. We confirm the accuracy of the model and evaluate the pileup correction using Monte Carlo simulations. The results show that image quality is preserved for surprisingly high count rates.
SC1129: Photon Counting CT
This course explains the principles of photon counting detectors for spectral x-ray imaging. Typical technical implementations are described and fundamental differences to energy integrating systems are pointed out. In particular, the issues of high-rate handling and the effect of detector cross talk on energy resolution are described. Requirements on electronics for spectral imaging in computed tomography is also discussed.
A second objective of the course is to describe how energy sensitive counting detectors make use of the energy sampling of the linear attenuation coefficients of the background and target materials for any given imaging task; methods like material basis decomposition and optimal energy weighting will be explained.
The second objective highlights the interesting fact that while the spatial-frequency descriptor of signal-to-noise-ratio transfer (DQE) of a system gives a complete characterization of performance for energy integrating (and pure photon counting) systems, it fails to characterize multibin systems since a complete description of the transfer characteristics requires specification of how the information of each energy bin is handled. The latter is in turn dependent on the imaging case at hand which shows that there is no such thing as an imaging case independent system DQE for photon counting multibin systems. We also suggest how this issue could be resolved.