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Title: Fundamental x-ray interaction limits in diagnostic imaging detectors: Frequency-dependent Swank noise

Abstract

A frequency-dependent x-ray Swank factor based on the ''x-ray interaction'' modulation transfer function and normalized noise power spectrum is determined from a Monte Carlo analysis. This factor was calculated in four converter materials: amorphous silicon (a-Si), amorphous selenium (a-Se), cesium iodide (CsI), and lead iodide (PbI{sub 2}) for incident photon energies between 10 and 150 keV and various converter thicknesses. When scaled by the quantum efficiency, the x-ray Swank factor describes the best possible detective quantum efficiency (DQE) a detector can have. As such, this x-ray interaction DQE provides a target performance benchmark. It is expressed as a function of (Fourier-based) spatial frequency and takes into consideration signal and noise correlations introduced by reabsorption of Compton scatter and photoelectric characteristic emissions. It is shown that the x-ray Swank factor is largely insensitive to converter thickness for quantum efficiency values greater than 0.5. Thus, while most of the tabulated values correspond to thick converters with a quantum efficiency of 0.99, they are appropriate to use for many detectors in current use. A simple expression for the x-ray interaction DQE of digital detectors (including noise aliasing) is derived in terms of the quantum efficiency, x-ray Swank factor, detector element size, and fillmore » factor. Good agreement is shown with DQE curves published by other investigators for each converter material, and the conditions required to achieve this ideal performance are discussed. For high-resolution imaging applications, the x-ray Swank factor indicates: (i) a-Si should only be used at low-energy (e.g., mammography); (ii) a-Se has the most promise for any application below 100 keV; and (iii) while quantum efficiency may be increased at energies just above the K edge in CsI and PbI{sub 2}, this benefit is offset by a substantial drop in the x-ray Swank factor, particularly at high spatial frequencies.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, P.O. Box 5015, London, Ontario N6A 5K8 (Canada)
  2. (Canada) and Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7 (Canada)
  3. (Canada) and London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, N6A 4L6 (Canada)
  4. (Canada) Departments of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, N6A 5W9 (Canada) and Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7 (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21120851
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 35; Journal Issue: 7; Other Information: DOI: 10.1118/1.2936412; (c) 2008 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; 46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; BIOMEDICAL RADIOGRAPHY; CESIUM IODIDES; COMPTON EFFECT; IMAGE PROCESSING; LEAD IODIDES; MAMMARY GLANDS; MONTE CARLO METHOD; PHOTOEMISSION; QUANTUM EFFICIENCY; SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS; TRANSFER FUNCTIONS; X RADIATION

Citation Formats

Hajdok, G., Battista, J. J., Cunningham, I. A., London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, N6A 4L6, Departments of Medical Biophysics and Oncology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7, and Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, P.O. Box 5015, London, Ontario N6A 5K8. Fundamental x-ray interaction limits in diagnostic imaging detectors: Frequency-dependent Swank noise. United States: N. p., 2008. Web. doi:10.1118/1.2936412.
Hajdok, G., Battista, J. J., Cunningham, I. A., London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, N6A 4L6, Departments of Medical Biophysics and Oncology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7, & Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, P.O. Box 5015, London, Ontario N6A 5K8. Fundamental x-ray interaction limits in diagnostic imaging detectors: Frequency-dependent Swank noise. United States. doi:10.1118/1.2936412.
Hajdok, G., Battista, J. J., Cunningham, I. A., London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, N6A 4L6, Departments of Medical Biophysics and Oncology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7, and Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, P.O. Box 5015, London, Ontario N6A 5K8. Tue . "Fundamental x-ray interaction limits in diagnostic imaging detectors: Frequency-dependent Swank noise". United States. doi:10.1118/1.2936412.
@article{osti_21120851,
title = {Fundamental x-ray interaction limits in diagnostic imaging detectors: Frequency-dependent Swank noise},
author = {Hajdok, G. and Battista, J. J. and Cunningham, I. A. and London Regional Cancer Program, London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, N6A 4L6 and Departments of Medical Biophysics and Oncology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7 and Imaging Research Laboratories, Robarts Research Institute, P.O. Box 5015, London, Ontario N6A 5K8},
abstractNote = {A frequency-dependent x-ray Swank factor based on the ''x-ray interaction'' modulation transfer function and normalized noise power spectrum is determined from a Monte Carlo analysis. This factor was calculated in four converter materials: amorphous silicon (a-Si), amorphous selenium (a-Se), cesium iodide (CsI), and lead iodide (PbI{sub 2}) for incident photon energies between 10 and 150 keV and various converter thicknesses. When scaled by the quantum efficiency, the x-ray Swank factor describes the best possible detective quantum efficiency (DQE) a detector can have. As such, this x-ray interaction DQE provides a target performance benchmark. It is expressed as a function of (Fourier-based) spatial frequency and takes into consideration signal and noise correlations introduced by reabsorption of Compton scatter and photoelectric characteristic emissions. It is shown that the x-ray Swank factor is largely insensitive to converter thickness for quantum efficiency values greater than 0.5. Thus, while most of the tabulated values correspond to thick converters with a quantum efficiency of 0.99, they are appropriate to use for many detectors in current use. A simple expression for the x-ray interaction DQE of digital detectors (including noise aliasing) is derived in terms of the quantum efficiency, x-ray Swank factor, detector element size, and fill factor. Good agreement is shown with DQE curves published by other investigators for each converter material, and the conditions required to achieve this ideal performance are discussed. For high-resolution imaging applications, the x-ray Swank factor indicates: (i) a-Si should only be used at low-energy (e.g., mammography); (ii) a-Se has the most promise for any application below 100 keV; and (iii) while quantum efficiency may be increased at energies just above the K edge in CsI and PbI{sub 2}, this benefit is offset by a substantial drop in the x-ray Swank factor, particularly at high spatial frequencies.},
doi = {10.1118/1.2936412},
journal = {Medical Physics},
number = 7,
volume = 35,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2008},
month = {Tue Jul 15 00:00:00 EDT 2008}
}
  • The practice of diagnostic x-ray imaging has been transformed with the emergence of digital detector technology. Although digital systems offer many practical advantages over conventional film-based systems, their spatial resolution performance can be a limitation. The authors present a Monte Carlo study to determine fundamental resolution limits caused by x-ray interactions in four converter materials: Amorphous silicon (a-Si), amorphous selenium, cesium iodide, and lead iodide. The ''x-ray interaction'' modulation transfer function (MTF) was determined for each material and compared in terms of the 50% MTF spatial frequency and Wagner's effective aperture for incident photon energies between 10 and 150 keVmore » and various converter thicknesses. Several conclusions can be drawn from their Monte Carlo study. (i) In low-Z (a-Si) converters, reabsorption of Compton scatter x rays limits spatial resolution with a sharp MTF drop at very low spatial frequencies (<0.3 cycles/mm), especially above 60 keV; while in high-Z materials, reabsorption of characteristic x rays plays a dominant role, resulting in a mid-frequency (1-5 cycles/mm) MTF drop. (ii) Coherent scatter plays a minor role in the x-ray interaction MTF. (iii) The spread of energy due to secondary electron (e.g., photoelectrons) transport is significant only at very high spatial frequencies. (iv) Unlike the spread of optical light in phosphors, the spread of absorbed energy from x-ray interactions does not significantly degrade spatial resolution as converter thickness is increased. (v) The effective aperture results reported here represent fundamental spatial resolution limits of the materials tested and serve as target benchmarks for the design and development of future digital x-ray detectors.« less
  • Purpose: The authors describe the modification to a previously developed Monte Carlo model of semiconductor direct x-ray detector required for studying the effect of burst and recombination algorithms on detector performance. This work provides insight into the effect of different charge generation models for a-Se detectors on Swank noise and recombination fraction. Methods: The proposed burst and recombination models are implemented in the Monte Carlo simulation package, ARTEMIS, developed byFang et al. [“Spatiotemporal Monte Carlo transport methods in x-ray semiconductor detectors: Application to pulse-height spectroscopy in a-Se,” Med. Phys. 39(1), 308–319 (2012)]. The burst model generates a cloud of electron-holemore » pairs based on electron velocity, energy deposition, and material parameters distributed within a spherical uniform volume (SUV) or on a spherical surface area (SSA). A simple first-hit (FH) and a more detailed but computationally expensive nearest-neighbor (NN) recombination algorithms are also described and compared. Results: Simulated recombination fractions for a single electron-hole pair show good agreement with Onsager model for a wide range of electric field, thermalization distance, and temperature. The recombination fraction and Swank noise exhibit a dependence on the burst model for generation of many electron-hole pairs from a single x ray. The Swank noise decreased for the SSA compared to the SUV model at 4 V/μm, while the recombination fraction decreased for SSA compared to the SUV model at 30 V/μm. The NN and FH recombination results were comparable. Conclusions: Results obtained with the ARTEMIS Monte Carlo transport model incorporating drift and diffusion are validated with the Onsager model for a single electron-hole pair as a function of electric field, thermalization distance, and temperature. For x-ray interactions, the authors demonstrate that the choice of burst model can affect the simulation results for the generation of many electron-hole pairs. The SSA model is more sensitive to the effect of electric field compared to the SUV model and that the NN and FH recombination algorithms did not significantly affect simulation results.« less
  • Purpose: The authors describe the modification to a previously developed Monte Carlo model of semiconductor direct x-ray detector required for studying the effect of burst and recombination algorithms on detector performance. This work provides insight into the effect of different charge generation models for a-Se detectors on Swank noise and recombination fraction. Methods: The proposed burst and recombination models are implemented in the Monte Carlo simulation package, ARTEMIS, developed byFang et al. [“Spatiotemporal Monte Carlo transport methods in x-ray semiconductor detectors: Application to pulse-height spectroscopy in a-Se,” Med. Phys. 39(1), 308–319 (2012)]. The burst model generates a cloud of electron-holemore » pairs based on electron velocity, energy deposition, and material parameters distributed within a spherical uniform volume (SUV) or on a spherical surface area (SSA). A simple first-hit (FH) and a more detailed but computationally expensive nearest-neighbor (NN) recombination algorithms are also described and compared. Results: Simulated recombination fractions for a single electron-hole pair show good agreement with Onsager model for a wide range of electric field, thermalization distance, and temperature. The recombination fraction and Swank noise exhibit a dependence on the burst model for generation of many electron-hole pairs from a single x ray. The Swank noise decreased for the SSA compared to the SUV model at 4 V/μm, while the recombination fraction decreased for SSA compared to the SUV model at 30 V/μm. The NN and FH recombination results were comparable. Conclusions: Results obtained with the ARTEMIS Monte Carlo transport model incorporating drift and diffusion are validated with the Onsager model for a single electron-hole pair as a function of electric field, thermalization distance, and temperature. For x-ray interactions, the authors demonstrate that the choice of burst model can affect the simulation results for the generation of many electron-hole pairs. The SSA model is more sensitive to the effect of electric field compared to the SUV model and that the NN and FH recombination algorithms did not significantly affect simulation results.« less
  • Image quality in diagnostic x-ray imaging is ultimately limited by the statistical properties governing how, and where, x-ray energy is deposited in a detector. This in turn depends on the physics of the underlying x-ray interactions. In the diagnostic energy range (10-100 keV), most of the energy deposited in a detector is through photoelectric interactions. We present a theoretical model of the photoelectric effect that specifically addresses the statistical nature of energy absorption by photoelectrons, K and L characteristic x rays, and Auger electrons. A cascaded-systems approach is used that employs a complex structure of parallel cascades to describe signalmore » and noise transfer through the photoelectric effect in terms of the modulation transfer function, Wiener noise power spectrum, and detective quantum efficiency (DQE). The model was evaluated by comparing results with Monte Carlo calculations for x-ray converters based on amorphous selenium (a-Se) and lead (Pb), representing both low and high-Z materials. When electron transport considerations can be neglected, excellent agreement (within 3%) is obtained for each metric over the entire diagnostic energy range in both a-Se and Pb detectors up to 30 cycles/mm, the highest frequency tested. The cascaded model overstates the DQE when the electron range cannot be ignored. This occurs at approximately two cycles/mm in a-Se at an incident photon energy of 80 keV, whereas in Pb, excellent agreement is obtained for the DQE over the entire diagnostic energy range. However, within the context of mammography (20 keV) and micro-computed tomography (40 keV), the effects of electron transport on the DQE are negligible compared to fluorescence reabsorption, which can lead to decreases of up to 30% and 20% in a-Se and Pb, respectively, at 20 keV; and 10% and 5%, respectively, at 40 keV. It is shown that when Swank noise is identified in a Fourier model, the Swank factor must be frequency dependent. This factor decreases quickly with frequency, and in the case of a-Se and Pb, decreases by up to a factor of 3 at five cycles/mm immediately above the K edge. The frequency-dependent Swank factor is also equivalent to what we call the ''photoelectric DQE,'' which describes signal and noise transfer through photoelectric interactions.« less
  • Purpose: Energy-resolved x-ray imaging has the potential to improve contrast-to-noise ratio by measuring the energy of each interacting photon and applying optimal weighting factors. The success of energy-resolving photon-counting (EPC) detectors relies on the ability of an x-ray detector to accurately measure the energy of each interacting photon. However, the escape of characteristic emissions and Compton scatter degrades spectral information. This article makes the theoretical connection between accuracy and imprecision in energy measurements with the x-ray Swank factor for a-Se, Si, CdZnTe, and HgI{sub 2}-based detectors. Methods: For a detector that implements adaptive binning to sum all elements in whichmore » x-ray energy is deposited for a single interaction, energy imprecision is shown to depend on the Swank factor for a large element with x rays incident at the center. The response function for each converter material is determined using Monte Carlo methods and used to determine energy accuracy, Swank factor, and relative energy imprecision in photon-energy measurements. Results: For each material, at energies below the respective K edges, accuracy is close to unity and imprecision is only a few percent. Above the K-edge energies, characteristic emission results in a drop in accuracy and precision that depends on escape probability. In Si, and to some extent a-Se, Compton-scatter escape also degrades energy precision with increasing energy. The influence of converter thickness on energy accuracy and imprecision is modest for low-Z materials but becomes important when using high-Z materials at energies greater than the K-edge energies. Conclusions: Accuracy and precision in energy measurements by EPC detectors are determined largely by the energy-dependent x-ray Swank factor. Modest decreases in the Swank factor (5%-15%) result in large increases in relative imprecision (30%-40%).« less