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Title: Slit design for efficient and accurate MTF measurement at megavoltage x-ray energies

Abstract

Empirical determination of the modulation transfer function (MTF) for analog and digital megavoltage x-ray imagers is a challenging task. The most common method used to determine MTF at megavoltage x-ray energies employs a long, narrow slit formed by two parallel, metal blocks in order to form a 'slit beam'. In this work, a detailed overview of some of the important considerations of slit design is presented. Based on these considerations, a novel, compact slit, using 19 cm thick tungsten blocks, was designed. The prototype slit was configured to attach to the accessory slot of the gantry of a linear accelerator, which greatly simplified the measurement process. Measurements were performed to determine the presampling MTF at 6 MV for an indirect detection active matrix flat panel imager prototype previously developed for megavoltage imaging applications. In addition, the effects of two important slit design parameters, material type and thickness, on the accuracy of MTF determination were investigated via a Monte Carlo-based theoretical study. Empirically determined MTFs obtained from the prototype slit closely match those from an earlier, less compact slit design based on 40 cm thick steel blocks. The results of the Monte Carlo-based theoretical studies indicate that the prototype slit achievesmore » close-to-ideal performance in terms of accurately determining the MTF by virtue of practically 100% beam attenuation in regions other than the slit gap. Furthermore, the theoretical results suggest that it may be possible to achieve even further reductions in slit thickness without compromising measurement accuracy.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20951284
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 34; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: DOI: 10.1118/1.2717405; (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; ACCURACY; BEAMS; BIOMEDICAL RADIOGRAPHY; DESIGN; IMAGES; LINEAR ACCELERATORS; MODULATION; MONTE CARLO METHOD; SPATIAL RESOLUTION; THICKNESS; TRANSFER FUNCTIONS; TUNGSTEN; X RADIATION

Citation Formats

Sawant, Amit, Antonuk, Larry, and El-Mohri, Youcef. Slit design for efficient and accurate MTF measurement at megavoltage x-ray energies. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1118/1.2717405.
Sawant, Amit, Antonuk, Larry, & El-Mohri, Youcef. Slit design for efficient and accurate MTF measurement at megavoltage x-ray energies. United States. doi:10.1118/1.2717405.
Sawant, Amit, Antonuk, Larry, and El-Mohri, Youcef. Tue . "Slit design for efficient and accurate MTF measurement at megavoltage x-ray energies". United States. doi:10.1118/1.2717405.
@article{osti_20951284,
title = {Slit design for efficient and accurate MTF measurement at megavoltage x-ray energies},
author = {Sawant, Amit and Antonuk, Larry and El-Mohri, Youcef},
abstractNote = {Empirical determination of the modulation transfer function (MTF) for analog and digital megavoltage x-ray imagers is a challenging task. The most common method used to determine MTF at megavoltage x-ray energies employs a long, narrow slit formed by two parallel, metal blocks in order to form a 'slit beam'. In this work, a detailed overview of some of the important considerations of slit design is presented. Based on these considerations, a novel, compact slit, using 19 cm thick tungsten blocks, was designed. The prototype slit was configured to attach to the accessory slot of the gantry of a linear accelerator, which greatly simplified the measurement process. Measurements were performed to determine the presampling MTF at 6 MV for an indirect detection active matrix flat panel imager prototype previously developed for megavoltage imaging applications. In addition, the effects of two important slit design parameters, material type and thickness, on the accuracy of MTF determination were investigated via a Monte Carlo-based theoretical study. Empirically determined MTFs obtained from the prototype slit closely match those from an earlier, less compact slit design based on 40 cm thick steel blocks. The results of the Monte Carlo-based theoretical studies indicate that the prototype slit achieves close-to-ideal performance in terms of accurately determining the MTF by virtue of practically 100% beam attenuation in regions other than the slit gap. Furthermore, the theoretical results suggest that it may be possible to achieve even further reductions in slit thickness without compromising measurement accuracy.},
doi = {10.1118/1.2717405},
journal = {Medical Physics},
number = 5,
volume = 34,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue May 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Tue May 15 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}
  • The measurement of the modulation transfer function (MTF) of an imaging device is a common requirement in evaluating radiographic detector performance. Such measurements are considered mandatory in detector development research, and may also be carried out as part of routine quality assurance (QA) checks of image quality. Traditionally, MTF measurement has been performed by imaging either a narrow slit or a sharp edge in order to generate a line spread function, whose Fourier transform provides the MTF on a near-continuous frequency domain. Much less commonly employed is the method of square-wave line-pair modulations, in which the modulation response to barmore » resolution targets contained in a bar pattern is used to estimate the MTF at discrete spatial frequencies. While the slit and edge methods offer advantages of accuracy and a well-known standardized protocol for measurement based on several decades of development, their major limitation is the difficult and time-consuming experimental setup that is necessary to ensure accurate measurements. On the other hand, the bar pattern offers the advantage of a quick, simple, and easy measurement without the need for a complex experimental setup, with the main disadvantages of the technique being a pseudo-normalization that may lead to an overestimated MTF, and corrections for removing higher-order frequency harmonics that require interpolating between discrete spatial frequencies. Therefore, bar patterns are traditionally used for qualitative imaging applications like detector QA in terms of relative and arbitrarily defined spatial resolution metrics, while slit and edge methods are preferred for quantitative MTF measurements. Compared to diagnostic x rays, MTF measurements using megavoltage x rays are further complicated by low x-ray attenuation and excessive Compton scattering. In this work, a method to measure the MTF of megavoltage x-ray detectors based on imaging square-wave line pairs with improved near-zero-frequency normalization was developed as an adaptation to previously reported methods. Monte Carlo simulations were used to identify an improved normalization condition with which the accuracy of the MTF determined from line-pair modulations could be enhanced considerably compared to previously used techniques. Slit, edge, and bar-pattern measurements were performed to obtain the MTF of commercial megavoltage imaging devices including portal film and electronic portal imaging devices. A comparison of the MTF measurements from the three techniques was used to ascertain the validity of the proposed bar-pattern method for accurate and reliable measurement of MTF for megavoltage imagers. Statistical analyses revealed no significant differences between the bar-pattern method and the standard slit and edge techniques, indicating very good agreement (mean difference within {+-}3%). These results indicated the potential for line-pair bar patterns to be used more effectively than in the past for traditional QA imaging as well as for quantitative MTF measurement in detector development research.« less
  • The detector presampling modulation transfer function (MTF) of a 576-channel variable resolution x-ray (VRX) computed tomography (CT) scanner was evaluated in this study. The scanner employs a VRX detector, which provides increased spatial resolution by matching the scanner's field of view (FOV) to the size of an object being imaged. Because spatial resolution is the parameter the scanner promises to improve, the evaluation of this resolution is important. The scanner's pre-reconstruction spatial resolution, represented by the detector presampling MTF, was evaluated using both modeling (Monte Carlo simulation) and measurement (the moving slit method). The theoretical results show the increase inmore » the cutoff frequency of the detector presampling MTF from 1.39 to 43.38 cycles/mm as the FOV of the VRX CT scanner decreases from 32 to 1 cm. The experimental results are in reasonable agreement with the theoretical data. Some discrepancies between the measured and the modeled detector presampling MTFs can be explained by the limitations of the model. At small FOVs (1-8 cm), the MTF measurements were limited by the size of the focal spot. The obtained results are important for further development of the VRX CT scanner.« less
  • Purpose: The authors describe a new technique to determine the system presampled modulation transfer function (MTF) in digital radiography using only the detector noise response. Methods: A cascaded-linear systems analysis was used to develop an exact relationship between the two-dimensional noise power spectrum (NPS) and the presampled MTF for a generalized detector system. This relationship was then utilized to determine the two-dimensional presampled MTF. For simplicity, aliasing of the correlated noise component of the NPS was assumed to be negligible. Accuracy of this method was investigated using simulated images from a simple detector model in which the ''true'' MTF wasmore » known exactly. Measurements were also performed on three detector technologies (an x-ray image intensifier, an indirect flat panel detector, and a solid state x-ray image intensifier), and the results were compared using the standard edge-response method. Flat-field and edge images were acquired and analyzed according to guidelines set forth by the International Electrotechnical Commission, using the RQA 5 spectrum. Results: The presampled MTF determined using the noise-response method for the simulated detector system was in close agreement with the true MTF with an averaged percent difference of 0.3% and a maximum difference of 1.1% observed at the Nyquist frequency (f{sub N}). The edge-response method of the simulated detector system also showed very good agreement at lower spatial frequencies (less than 0.5 f{sub N}) with an averaged percent difference of 1.6% but showed significant discrepancies at higher spatial frequencies (greater than 0.5 f{sub N}) with an averaged percent difference of 17%. Discrepancies were in part a result of noise in the edge image and phasing errors. For all three detector systems, the MTFs obtained using the two methods were found to be in good agreement at spatial frequencies less than 0.5 f{sub N} with an averaged percent difference of 3.4%. Above 0.5 f{sub N}, differences increased to an average of 20%. Deviations of the experimental results largely followed the trend seen in the simulation results, suggesting that differences between the two methods could be explained as resulting from the inherent inaccuracies of the edge-response measurement technique used in this study. Aliasing of the correlated noise component was shown to have a minimal effect on the measured MTF for the three detectors studied. Systems with significant aliasing of the correlated noise component (e.g., a-Se based detectors) would likely require a more sophisticated fitting scheme to provide accurate results. Conclusions: Results indicate that the noise-response method, a simple technique, can be used to accurately measure the MTF of digital x-ray detectors, while alleviating the problems and inaccuracies associated with use of precision test objects, such as a slit or an edge.« less
  • To determine the absorbed dose to the skin of patients undergoing radiotherapy with megavoltage radiations, it is necessary for the dose to be measured at shallow depths. This report assesses the suitability of carbon-loaded thermoluminescent dosimetry (manufactured by Vinten Instruments Limited) for this purpose. Measurements have been made of the effective measurement depth of the dosimeters, the linearity with dose, and the variation of sensitivity within a batch. The variation of surface dose with incident angle of radiation for 5-MV x rays has been measured using these disks; the results are compared with results obtained using a thin-windowed ionization chamber.
  • Most electronic portal imaging devices (EPIDs) developed to date, including recently developed flat panel systems, have low x-ray absorption, i.e., low quantum efficiency (QE) of 2%-4% as compared to the theoretical limit of 100%. A significant increase of QE is desirable for applications such as a megavoltage cone-beam computed tomography (MVCT) and megavoltage fluoroscopy. However, the spatial resolution of an imaging system usually decreases significantly with an increase of QE. The key to the success in the design of a high QE detector is therefore to maintain the spatial resolution. Recently, we demonstrated theoretically that it is possible to designmore » a portal imaging detector with both high QE and high resolution [see Pang and Rowlands, Med. Phys. 29, 2274 (2002)]. In this paper, we introduce such a novel design consisting of a large number of microstructured plates (made by, e.g., photolithographic patterning of evaporated or electroplated layers) packed together and aligned with the incident x rays. On each plate, microstrip charge collectors are focused toward the x-ray source to collect charges generated in the ionization medium (e.g., air or gas) surrounded by high-density materials that act as x-ray converters. The collected charges represent the x-ray image and can be read out by various means, including a two-dimensional (2-D) active readout matrix. The QE, spatial resolution, and sensitivity of the detector have been calculated. It has been shown that the new design will have a QE of more than an order of magnitude higher and a spatial resolution equivalent to that of flat panel systems currently used for portal imaging. The new design is also quantum noise limited down to very low doses ({approx}1-2 radiation pulses of the linear accelerator)« less