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Title: Optimization of dual-energy imaging systems using generalized NEQ and imaging task

Abstract

Dual-energy (DE) imaging is a promising advanced application of flat-panel detectors (FPDs) with a potential host of applications ranging from thoracic and cardiac imaging to interventional procedures. The performance of FPD-based DE imaging systems is investigated in this work by incorporating the noise-power spectrum associated with overlying anatomical structures (''anatomical noise'' modeled according to a 1/f characteristic) into descriptions of noise-equivalent quanta (NEQ) to yield the generalized NEQ (GNEQ). Signal and noise propagation in the DE imaging chain is modeled by cascaded systems analysis. A Fourier-based description of the imaging task is integrated with the GNEQ to yield a detectability index used as an objective function for optimizing DE image reconstruction, allocation of dose between low- and high-energy images, and selection of low- and high-kVp. Optimal reconstruction and acquisition parameters were found to depend on dose; for example, optimal kVp varied from [60/150] kVp at typical radiographic dose levels ({approx}0.5 mGy entrance surface dose, ESD) but increased to [90/150] kVp at high dose (ESD{approx}5.0 mGy). At very low dose (ESD{approx}0.05 mGy), detectability index indicates an optimal low-energy technique of 60 kVp but was largely insensitive to the choice of high-kVp in the range 120-150 kVp. Similarly, optimal dose allocation, definedmore » as the ratio of low-energy ESD and the total ESD, varied from 0.2 to 0.4 over the range ESD=(0.05-5.0) mGy. Furthermore, two applications of the theoretical framework were explored: (i) the increase in detectability for DE imaging compared to conventional radiography; and (ii) the performance of single-shot vs double-shot DE imaging, wherein the latter is found to have a DQE approximately twice that of the former. Experimental and theoretical analysis of GNEQ and task-based detectability index provides a fundamental understanding of the factors governing DE imaging performance and offers a framework for system design and optimization.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2]
  1. Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9 (Canada)
  2. (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20853903
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 34; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: DOI: 10.1118/1.2400620; (c) 2007 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; DOSIMETRY; IMAGE PROCESSING; IMAGES; NOISE; OPTIMIZATION; PERFORMANCE; RADIATION DOSES; SYSTEMS ANALYSIS

Citation Formats

Richard, S., Siewerdsen, J. H., and Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada, and Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9. Optimization of dual-energy imaging systems using generalized NEQ and imaging task. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1118/1.2400620.
Richard, S., Siewerdsen, J. H., & Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada, and Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9. Optimization of dual-energy imaging systems using generalized NEQ and imaging task. United States. doi:10.1118/1.2400620.
Richard, S., Siewerdsen, J. H., and Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada, and Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9. Mon . "Optimization of dual-energy imaging systems using generalized NEQ and imaging task". United States. doi:10.1118/1.2400620.
@article{osti_20853903,
title = {Optimization of dual-energy imaging systems using generalized NEQ and imaging task},
author = {Richard, S. and Siewerdsen, J. H. and Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9, Canada, and Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 2M9},
abstractNote = {Dual-energy (DE) imaging is a promising advanced application of flat-panel detectors (FPDs) with a potential host of applications ranging from thoracic and cardiac imaging to interventional procedures. The performance of FPD-based DE imaging systems is investigated in this work by incorporating the noise-power spectrum associated with overlying anatomical structures (''anatomical noise'' modeled according to a 1/f characteristic) into descriptions of noise-equivalent quanta (NEQ) to yield the generalized NEQ (GNEQ). Signal and noise propagation in the DE imaging chain is modeled by cascaded systems analysis. A Fourier-based description of the imaging task is integrated with the GNEQ to yield a detectability index used as an objective function for optimizing DE image reconstruction, allocation of dose between low- and high-energy images, and selection of low- and high-kVp. Optimal reconstruction and acquisition parameters were found to depend on dose; for example, optimal kVp varied from [60/150] kVp at typical radiographic dose levels ({approx}0.5 mGy entrance surface dose, ESD) but increased to [90/150] kVp at high dose (ESD{approx}5.0 mGy). At very low dose (ESD{approx}0.05 mGy), detectability index indicates an optimal low-energy technique of 60 kVp but was largely insensitive to the choice of high-kVp in the range 120-150 kVp. Similarly, optimal dose allocation, defined as the ratio of low-energy ESD and the total ESD, varied from 0.2 to 0.4 over the range ESD=(0.05-5.0) mGy. Furthermore, two applications of the theoretical framework were explored: (i) the increase in detectability for DE imaging compared to conventional radiography; and (ii) the performance of single-shot vs double-shot DE imaging, wherein the latter is found to have a DQE approximately twice that of the former. Experimental and theoretical analysis of GNEQ and task-based detectability index provides a fundamental understanding of the factors governing DE imaging performance and offers a framework for system design and optimization.},
doi = {10.1118/1.2400620},
journal = {Medical Physics},
number = 1,
volume = 34,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 15 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Mon Jan 15 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}
  • Analysis of detective quantum efficiency (DQE) is an important component of the investigation of imaging performance for flat-panel detectors (FPDs). Conventional descriptions of DQE are limited, however, in that they take no account of anatomical noise (i.e., image fluctuations caused by overlying anatomy), even though such noise can be the most significant limitation to detectability, often outweighing quantum or electronic noise. We incorporate anatomical noise in experimental and theoretical descriptions of the 'generalized DQE' by including a spatial-frequency-dependent noise-power term, S{sub B}, corresponding to background anatomical fluctuations. Cascaded systems analysis (CSA) of the generalized DQE reveals tradeoffs between anatomical noisemore » and the factors that govern quantum noise. We extend such analysis to dual-energy (DE) imaging, in which the overlying anatomical structure is selectively removed in image reconstructions by combining projections acquired at low and high kVp. The effectiveness of DE imaging in removing anatomical noise is quantified by measurement of S{sub B} in an anthropomorphic phantom. Combining the generalized DQE with an idealized task function to yield the detectability index, we show that anatomical noise dramatically influences task-based performance, system design, and optimization. For the case of radiography, the analysis resolves a fundamental and illustrative quandary: The effect of kVp on imaging performance, which is poorly described by conventional DQE analysis but is clarified by consideration of the generalized DQE. For the case of DE imaging, extension of a generalized CSA methodology reveals a potentially powerful guide to system optimization through the optimal selection of the tissue cancellation parameter. Generalized task-based analysis for DE imaging shows an improvement in the detectability index by more than a factor of 2 compared to conventional radiography for idealized detection tasks.« less
  • Human observer performance tests were conducted to identify optimal imaging techniques in dual-energy (DE) imaging of the chest with respect to a variety of visualization tasks for soft and bony tissue. Specifically, the effect of kVp selection in low- and high-energy projection pairs was investigated. DE images of an anthropomorphic chest phantom formed the basis for observer studies, decomposed from low-energy and high-energy projections in the range 60-90 kVp and 120-150 kVp, respectively, with total dose for the DE image equivalent to that of a single chest radiograph. Five expert radiologists participated in observer preference tests to evaluate differences inmore » image quality among the DE images. For visualization of soft-tissue structures in the lung, the [60/130] kVp pair provided optimal image quality, whereas [60/140] kVp proved optimal for delineation of the descending aorta in the retrocardiac region. Such soft-tissue detectability tasks exhibited a strong dependence on the low-kVp selection (with 60 kVp providing maximum soft-tissue conspicuity) and a weaker dependence on the high-kVp selection (typically highest at 130-140 kVp). Qualitative examination of DE bone-only images suggests optimal bony visualization at a similar technique, viz., [60/140] kVp. Observer preference was largely consistent with quantitative analysis of contrast, noise, and contrast-to-noise ratio, with subtle differences likely related to the imaging task and spatial-frequency characteristics of the noise. Observer preference tests offered practical, semiquantitative identification of optimal, task-specific imaging techniques and will provide useful guidance toward clinical implementation of high-performance DE imaging systems.« less
  • Detection of a target object in a radiological image is often impeded by an obscuring background clutter resulting from the contrast between various materials in the neighborhood of the target. Dual-energy techniques can reduce or remove this clutter. In order for the target to be detectable in the image after dual-energy processing, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), defined as the difference between the target and the background divided by the photon noise in the difference, must exceed some threshold. A given SNR may be obtained for a wide range of the energies of the two x-ray beams and the ratio ofmore » their fluences. A theoretical model is developed which permits the choice of beams to be optimized with respect to some critical parameter--in this case, patient dose. The analysis is applied to the detection of calcifications in mammography. For an ideal imaging system, the authors predict that the optimum beam energies are 19 and 68 keV. A dose of 0.42 cGy is required to obtain an SNR of 5 for detection of a 0.02-cm cubic calcification in the resulting clutter-free image. This can be reduced to 0.16 cGy if the higher energy image is smoothed, prior to dual-energy processing, such that its variance is reduced to one-fourth of its unsmoothed value.« less
  • A simulation study was conducted to evaluate the effects of high-energy beam filtration, dual-gain operation and noise reduction on dual-energy images using a digital flat-panel detector. High-energy beam filtration increases image contrast through greater beam separation and tends to reduce total radiation exposure and dose per image pair. It is also possible to reduce dual-energy image noise by acquiring low and high-energy images at two different detector gains. In addition, dual-energy noise reduction algorithms can further reduce image noise. The cumulative effect of these techniques applied in series was investigated in this study. The contrast from a small thickness ofmore » calcium was simulated over a step phantom of tissue equivalent material with a CsI phosphor as the image detector. The dual-energy contrast-to-noise ratio was calculated using values of energy absorption and energy variance. A figure-of-merit (FOM) was calculated from dual-energy contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) and patient effective dose estimated from values of entrance exposure. Filter atomic numbers in the range of 1-100 were considered with thicknesses ranging from 0-2500 mg/cm{sup 2}. The simulation examined combinations of the above techniques which maximized the FOM. The application of a filter increased image contrast by as much as 45%. Near maximal increases were seen for filter atomic numbers in the range of 40-60 and 85-100 with masses above 750 mg/cm{sup 2}. Increasing filter thickness beyond 1000 mg/cm{sup 2} increased tube loading without further significant contrast enhancement. No additional FOM improvements were seen with dual gain before or after the application of any noise reduction algorithm. Narrow beam experiments were carried out to verify predictions. The measured FOM increased by more than a factor of 3.5 for a silver filter thickness of 800 {mu}m, equal energy weighting and application of a noise clipping algorithm. The main limitation of dynamic high-energy filtration is increased tube loading. The results of this study can be used to help develop an optimal dual-energy imaging system.« less
  • Experimental and theoretical studies were conducted to determine optimal acquisition techniques for a prototype dual-energy (DE) chest imaging system. Technique factors investigated included the selection of added x-ray filtration, kVp pair, and the allocation of dose between low- and high-energy projections, with total dose equal to or less than that of a conventional chest radiograph. Optima were computed to maximize lung nodule detectability as characterized by the signal-difference-to-noise ratio (SDNR) in DE chest images. Optimal beam filtration was determined by cascaded systems analysis of DE image SDNR for filter selections across the periodic table (Z{sub filter}=1-92), demonstrating the importance ofmore » differential filtration between low- and high-kVp projections and suggesting optimal high-kVp filters in the range Z{sub filter}=25-50. For example, added filtration of {approx}2.1 mm Cu, {approx}1.2 mm Zr, {approx}0.7 mm Mo, and {approx}0.6 mm Ag to the high-kVp beam provided optimal (and nearly equivalent) soft-tissue SDNR. Optimal kVp pair and dose allocation were investigated using a chest phantom presenting simulated lung nodules and ribs for thin, average, and thick body habitus. Low- and high-energy techniques ranged from 60-90 kVp and 120-150 kVp, respectively, with peak soft-tissue SDNR achieved at [60/120] kVp for all patient thicknesses and all levels of imaging dose. A strong dependence on the kVp of the low-energy projection was observed. Optimal allocation of dose between low- and high-energy projections was such that {approx}30% of the total dose was delivered by the low-kVp projection, exhibiting a fairly weak dependence on kVp pair and dose. The results have guided the implementation of a prototype DE imaging system for imaging trials in early-stage lung nodule detection and diagnosis.« less