In this work, we present a novel model-based material decomposition (MBMD) approach for x-ray CT that includes system blur in the measurement model. Such processing has the potential to extend spatial resolution in material density estimates - particularly in systems where different spectral channels exhibit different spatial resolutions. We illustrate this new approach for a dual-layer detector x-ray CT and compare MBMD algorithms with and without blur in the reconstruction forward model. Both qualitative and quantitative comparisons of performance with and without blur modeling are reported. We find that blur modeling yields images with better recovery of high-resolution structures in an investigation of reconstructed line pairs as well as lower cross-talk bias between material bases that is ordinarily found due to mismatches in spatial resolution between spectral channels. The extended spatial resolution of the material decompositions has potential application in a range of high-resolution clinical tasks and spectral CT systems where spectral channels exhibit different spatial resolutions.
Metal artifact remains a challenge in cone-beam CT images. Many two-pass metal artifact reduction methods have been proposed, which work fairly well, but are limited when the metal is outside the scan field-of-view (FOV) or when the metal is moving during the scan. In the former, even reconstructing with a larger FOV does not guarantee a good estimate of metal location in the projections; and in the latter, the metal location in each projection is difficult to identify due to motion. Furthermore, two-pass methods increase the total reconstruction time. In this study, a projection-based metal detection and correction method with a dual layer detector is investigated. The dual layer detector provides dual energy images with perfect temporal and spatial registration in each projection, which aid in the identification of metal. A simple phantom with metal wires (copper) and a needle (steel) is used to evaluate the projection-based metal artifact reduction method from a dual layer scan and compared with that of a single layer scan. Preliminary results showed enhanced ability to identify metal regions, leading to substantially reduced metal artifact in reconstructed images. In summary, an effective single-pass, projection-domain method using a dual layer detector has been demonstrated, and it is expected to be robust against truncation and motion.
Cone-beam CT (CBCT) is widely used in diagnostic imaging and image-guided procedures, leading to an increasing need for advanced CBCT techniques, such as dual energy (DE) imaging. Previous studies have shown that DECBCT can perform quantitative material decomposition, including quantification of contrast agents, electron density, and virtual monoenergetic images. Currently, most CBCT systems perform DE imaging using a kVp switching technique. However, the disadvantages of this method are spatial and temporal misregistration as well as total scan time increase, leading to errors in the material decomposition. DE-CBCT with a dual layer flat panel detector potentially overcomes these limitations by acquiring the dual energy images simultaneously. In this work, we investigate the DE imaging performance of a prototype dual layer detector by evaluating its material decomposition capability and comparing its performance to that of the kVp switching method. Two sets of x-ray spectra were used for kVp switching: 80/120 kVp and 80/120 kVp + 1 mm Cu filtration. Our results show the dual layer detector outperforms kVp switching at 80/120 kVp with matched dose. The performance of kVp switching was better by adding 1 mm copper filtration to the high energy images (80/120 kVp + 1 mm Cu), though the dual layer detector still provided comparable performance for material decomposition tasks. Overall, both the dual layer detector and kVp switching methods provided quantitative material decomposition images in DE-CBCT, with the dual layer detector having additional potential advantages.
Dual Energy (DE) imaging has been widely used in digital radiography and fluoroscopy, as has dual energy CT for various medical applications. In this study, the imaging performance of a dynamic dual-layer a-Si flat panel detector (FPD) prototype was characterized for dual energy imaging tasks. Dual energy cone beam CT (DE CBCT) scans were acquired and used to perform material decomposition in the projection domain, followed by reconstruction to generate material specific and virtual monoenergetic (VM) images. The dual-layer FPD prototype was built on a Varex XRD 4343RF detector by adding a 200 μm thick CsI scintillator and a-Si panel of 150 μm pixel size on top as a low energy detector. A 1 mm copper filter was added as a middle layer to increase energy separation with the bottom layer as a high energy detector. The imaging performance, such as Modulation Transfer Function (MTF), Conversion Factor (CF), and Detector Quantum Efficiency (DQE) of both the top and bottom detector layers were characterized and compared with those of the standard single layer XRD4343 RF detector. Several tissue equivalent cylinders (solid water, liquid water, bone, acrylic, polyethylene, etc.) were placed on a rotating stand, and two separate 450-projection CBCT scans were performed under continuous 120 kV and 80 kV X-ray beams. After an empirical material decomposition calibration, water and bone images were generated for each projection, and their respective volumes were reconstructed using Varex’s CBCT Software Tools (CST 2.0). A VM image, which maximized the contrast-to-noise ratio of water to polyethylene, was generated based on the water and bone images. The MTF at 1.0 lp/mm from the low energy detector was 32% and 22% higher than the high energy detector and the standard detector, respectively; the DQE of both high and low energy detectors is much lower than that of the standard XRD 4343RF detector. The CNR of water to polyethylene from the VM image improved by 50% over that from the low energy image alone at 120 kV, and by 80% at 80 kV. This study demonstrates the feasibility of using a dual-layer FPD in applications such as DE CBCT for contrast enhancement and material decomposition. Further evaluations are underway.
Electronic portal imaging devices (EPIDs) are x-ray detector systems conventionally used for medical imaging applications in cancer radiotherapy. Our group has developed a novel prototype EPID with the unique capability of performing both imaging and dose measurements. Our prototype utilizes an array of plastic scintillating fibers in place of the standard copper and gadolinium dioxysulfide phosphor components1.
While our prototype EPID exhibits a detective quantum efficiency that exceeds that of commercial products, there is further scope for improvement. In particular, there is scope to improve optical coupling between the scintillating fiber array and the underlying photodetector where currently an air gap exists. Here, we investigate the effect of a layer of polystyrene nanofibers placed at the end interface of the scintillator array on light extraction efficiency using finite element modelling. We demonstrate that the total light extraction, which depends on the polarization of the incident light, can be enhanced by up to 14%.
This enhancement stems from two effects: Bragg diffraction arising from the periodic arrangement of the fibers and Whispering Gallery Modes (WGMs) formed at each fiber’s cross-section due to Mie resonances. We show that the nanofibers increase optical transmittance above the critical angle. Moreover, we demonstrate that the light extraction efficiency strongly depends on the polarization of the incident light (s- and p-polarizations), as well as the diameter and periodicity of the nanofibers.
Indirect conversion flat panel detectors (FPDs) based on amorphous silicon (a-Si) technology are widely used in digital X-ray imaging. In such FPDs a scintillator layer is used for converting X-rays into visible light photons. However, the lateral spread of these photons inside the scintillator layer reduces spatial resolution of the FPD. In this study, FPDs incorporating pixelated scintillators with a barrier rib structure were developed to limit lateral spread of light photons thereby improving spatial resolution. For the pixelated scintillator, a two-dimensional barrier rib structure was first manufactured on a substrate layer, coated with reflective materials, and filled to the rim with the scintillating material of gadolinium oxysulfide (GOS). Several scintillator samples were fabricated, with pitch size varying from 160 to 280 μm and rib height from 200 to 280 μm. The samples were directly coupled to an a-Si flat panel photodiode array with a pitch of 200 μm to convert optical photons to electronic signals. With the pixelated scintillator, the detector modulation transfer function was shown to improve significantly (by 94% at 2 cycle/mm) compared to a detector using an unstructured GOS layer. However, the prototype does show lower sensitivity due to the decrease in scintillator fill factor. The preliminary results demonstrated the feasibility of using the barrier-rib structure to improve the spatial resolution of FPDs. Such an improvement would greatly benefit nondestructive testing applications where the spatial resolution is the most important parameter. Further investigation will focus on improving the detector sensitivity and exploring its medical applications.