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Title: Characteristic performance evaluation of a photon counting Si strip detector for low dose spectral breast CT imaging

Abstract

Purpose: The possible clinical applications which can be performed using a newly developed detector depend on the detector's characteristic performance in a number of metrics including the dynamic range, resolution, uniformity, and stability. The authors have evaluated a prototype energy resolved fast photon counting x-ray detector based on a silicon (Si) strip sensor used in an edge-on geometry with an application specific integrated circuit to record the number of x-rays and their energies at high flux and fast frame rates. The investigated detector was integrated with a dedicated breast spectral computed tomography (CT) system to make use of the detector's high spatial and energy resolution and low noise performance under conditions suitable for clinical breast imaging. The aim of this article is to investigate the intrinsic characteristics of the detector, in terms of maximum output count rate, spatial and energy resolution, and noise performance of the imaging system. Methods: The maximum output count rate was obtained with a 50 W x-ray tube with a maximum continuous output of 50 kVp at 1.0 mA. A{sup 109}Cd source, with a characteristic x-ray peak at 22 keV from Ag, was used to measure the energy resolution of the detector. The axial plane modulationmore » transfer function (MTF) was measured using a 67 μm diameter tungsten wire. The two-dimensional (2D) noise power spectrum (NPS) was measured using flat field images and noise equivalent quanta (NEQ) were calculated using the MTF and NPS results. The image quality parameters were studied as a function of various radiation doses and reconstruction filters. The one-dimensional (1D) NPS was used to investigate the effect of electronic noise elimination by varying the minimum energy threshold. Results: A maximum output count rate of 100 million counts per second per square millimeter (cps/mm{sup 2}) has been obtained (1 million cps per 100 × 100 μm pixel). The electrical noise floor was less than 4 keV. The energy resolution measured with the 22 keV photons from a {sup 109}Cd source was less than 9%. A reduction of image noise was shown in all the spatial frequencies in 1D NPS as a result of the elimination of the electronic noise. The spatial resolution was measured just above 5 line pairs per mm (lp/mm) where 10% of MTF corresponded to 5.4 mm{sup −1}. The 2D NPS and NEQ shows a low noise floor and a linear dependence on dose. The reconstruction filter choice affected both of the MTF and NPS results, but had a weak effect on the NEQ. Conclusions: The prototype energy resolved photon counting Si strip detector can offer superior imaging performance for dedicated breast CT as compared to a conventional energy-integrating detector due to its high output count rate, high spatial and energy resolution, and low noise characteristics, which are essential characteristics for spectral breast CT imaging.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1]; ;  [2]
  1. Department of Radiological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, California 92697 (United States)
  2. DxRay Inc., Northridge, California 91324 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22409594
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Medical Physics; Journal Volume: 41; Journal Issue: 9; Other Information: (c) 2014 American Association of Physicists in Medicine; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; CADMIUM 109; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY; COUNTING RATES; ENERGY RESOLUTION; MAMMARY GLANDS; NOISE; PERFORMANCE; RADIATION DOSES; SCINTILLATION COUNTING; SPATIAL RESOLUTION; X RADIATION

Citation Formats

Cho, Hyo-Min, Ding, Huanjun, Molloi, Sabee, E-mail: symolloi@uci.edu, Barber, William C., and Iwanczyk, Jan S. Characteristic performance evaluation of a photon counting Si strip detector for low dose spectral breast CT imaging. United States: N. p., 2014. Web. doi:10.1118/1.4892174.
Cho, Hyo-Min, Ding, Huanjun, Molloi, Sabee, E-mail: symolloi@uci.edu, Barber, William C., & Iwanczyk, Jan S. Characteristic performance evaluation of a photon counting Si strip detector for low dose spectral breast CT imaging. United States. doi:10.1118/1.4892174.
Cho, Hyo-Min, Ding, Huanjun, Molloi, Sabee, E-mail: symolloi@uci.edu, Barber, William C., and Iwanczyk, Jan S. 2014. "Characteristic performance evaluation of a photon counting Si strip detector for low dose spectral breast CT imaging". United States. doi:10.1118/1.4892174.
@article{osti_22409594,
title = {Characteristic performance evaluation of a photon counting Si strip detector for low dose spectral breast CT imaging},
author = {Cho, Hyo-Min and Ding, Huanjun and Molloi, Sabee, E-mail: symolloi@uci.edu and Barber, William C. and Iwanczyk, Jan S.},
abstractNote = {Purpose: The possible clinical applications which can be performed using a newly developed detector depend on the detector's characteristic performance in a number of metrics including the dynamic range, resolution, uniformity, and stability. The authors have evaluated a prototype energy resolved fast photon counting x-ray detector based on a silicon (Si) strip sensor used in an edge-on geometry with an application specific integrated circuit to record the number of x-rays and their energies at high flux and fast frame rates. The investigated detector was integrated with a dedicated breast spectral computed tomography (CT) system to make use of the detector's high spatial and energy resolution and low noise performance under conditions suitable for clinical breast imaging. The aim of this article is to investigate the intrinsic characteristics of the detector, in terms of maximum output count rate, spatial and energy resolution, and noise performance of the imaging system. Methods: The maximum output count rate was obtained with a 50 W x-ray tube with a maximum continuous output of 50 kVp at 1.0 mA. A{sup 109}Cd source, with a characteristic x-ray peak at 22 keV from Ag, was used to measure the energy resolution of the detector. The axial plane modulation transfer function (MTF) was measured using a 67 μm diameter tungsten wire. The two-dimensional (2D) noise power spectrum (NPS) was measured using flat field images and noise equivalent quanta (NEQ) were calculated using the MTF and NPS results. The image quality parameters were studied as a function of various radiation doses and reconstruction filters. The one-dimensional (1D) NPS was used to investigate the effect of electronic noise elimination by varying the minimum energy threshold. Results: A maximum output count rate of 100 million counts per second per square millimeter (cps/mm{sup 2}) has been obtained (1 million cps per 100 × 100 μm pixel). The electrical noise floor was less than 4 keV. The energy resolution measured with the 22 keV photons from a {sup 109}Cd source was less than 9%. A reduction of image noise was shown in all the spatial frequencies in 1D NPS as a result of the elimination of the electronic noise. The spatial resolution was measured just above 5 line pairs per mm (lp/mm) where 10% of MTF corresponded to 5.4 mm{sup −1}. The 2D NPS and NEQ shows a low noise floor and a linear dependence on dose. The reconstruction filter choice affected both of the MTF and NPS results, but had a weak effect on the NEQ. Conclusions: The prototype energy resolved photon counting Si strip detector can offer superior imaging performance for dedicated breast CT as compared to a conventional energy-integrating detector due to its high output count rate, high spatial and energy resolution, and low noise characteristics, which are essential characteristics for spectral breast CT imaging.},
doi = {10.1118/1.4892174},
journal = {Medical Physics},
number = 9,
volume = 41,
place = {United States},
year = 2014,
month = 9
}
  • Purpose: To investigate the feasibility of detecting breast microcalcification (μCa) with a dedicated breast computed tomography (CT) system based on energy-resolved photon-counting silicon (Si) strip detectors. Methods: The proposed photon-counting breast CT system and a bench-top prototype photon-counting breast CT system were simulated using a simulation package written in MATLAB to determine the smallest detectable μCa. A 14 cm diameter cylindrical phantom made of breast tissue with 20% glandularity was used to simulate an average-sized breast. Five different size groups of calcium carbonate grains, from 100 to 180 μm in diameter, were simulated inside of the cylindrical phantom. The imagesmore » were acquired with a mean glandular dose (MGD) in the range of 0.7–8 mGy. A total of 400 images was used to perform a reader study. Another simulation study was performed using a 1.6 cm diameter cylindrical phantom to validate the experimental results from a bench-top prototype breast CT system. In the experimental study, a bench-top prototype CT system was constructed using a tungsten anode x-ray source and a single line 256-pixels Si strip photon-counting detector with a pixel pitch of 100 μm. Calcium carbonate grains, with diameter in the range of 105–215 μm, were embedded in a cylindrical plastic resin phantom to simulate μCas. The physical phantoms were imaged at 65 kVp with an entrance exposure in the range of 0.6–8 mGy. A total of 500 images was used to perform another reader study. The images were displayed in random order to three blinded observers, who were asked to give a 4-point confidence rating on each image regarding the presence of μCa. The μCa detectability for each image was evaluated by using the average area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) across the readers. Results: The simulation results using a 14 cm diameter breast phantom showed that the proposed photon-counting breast CT system can achieve high detection accuracy with an average AUC greater than 0.89 ± 0.07 for μCas larger than 120 μm in diameter at a MGD of 3 mGy. The experimental results using a 1.6 cm diameter breast phantom showed that the prototype system can achieve an average AUC greater than 0.98 ± 0.01 for μCas larger than 140 μm in diameter using an entrance exposure of 1.2 mGy. Conclusions: The proposed photon-counting breast CT system based on a Si strip detector can potentially offer superior image quality to detect μCa with a lower dose level than a standard two-view mammography.« less
  • When a material is placed along the path of an X-ray beam using a broad range of energy X-ray source, the energy dependence of the attenuation for the X-ray photons will be substantially dissimilar for different materials. The process at which X-ray radiation loses its penetrating strength as it travels through a material will be significantly larger for photons with energy above k-edge energy of that material than for those with slightly lower energy. Hence energy resolved X-ray imaging can be used to achieve colour images revealing the material content of the test sample. The attenuation of the spectrum donemore » by scanning an energy window through the spectrum was measured for a number of samples of different materials. The test samples include Sn, Gd and I with K-edge energy at 29 keV, 50 keV and 33 keV, respectively, using a Feinfocus microfocus X-ray source (FTP-105.02) with Medipix2 photon counting chip.« less
  • Purpose: Coherent scatter based imaging has shown improved contrast and molecular specificity over conventional digital mammography however the biological risks have not been quantified due to a lack of accurate information on absorbed dose. This study intends to characterize the dose distribution and average glandular dose from coded aperture coherent scatter spectral imaging of the breast. The dose deposited in the breast from this new diagnostic imaging modality has not yet been quantitatively evaluated. Here, various digitized anthropomorphic phantoms are tested in a Monte Carlo simulation to evaluate the absorbed dose distribution and average glandular dose using clinically feasible scanmore » protocols. Methods: Geant4 Monte Carlo radiation transport simulation software is used to replicate the coded aperture coherent scatter spectral imaging system. Energy sensitive, photon counting detectors are used to characterize the x-ray beam spectra for various imaging protocols. This input spectra is cross-validated with the results from XSPECT, a commercially available application that yields x-ray tube specific spectra for the operating parameters employed. XSPECT is also used to determine the appropriate number of photons emitted per mAs of tube current at a given kVp tube potential. With the implementation of the XCAT digital anthropomorphic breast phantom library, a variety of breast sizes with differing anatomical structure are evaluated. Simulations were performed with and without compression of the breast for dose comparison. Results: Through the Monte Carlo evaluation of a diverse population of breast types imaged under real-world scan conditions, a clinically relevant average glandular dose for this new imaging modality is extrapolated. Conclusion: With access to the physical coherent scatter imaging system used in the simulation, the results of this Monte Carlo study may be used to directly influence the future development of the modality to keep breast dose to a minimum while still maintaining clinically viable image quality.« less
  • Purpose: To investigate the feasibility of micro-calcification (μCa) detectability by using an energy-resolved photon-counting Si strip detector for spectral breast computed tomography (CT). Methods: A bench-top CT system was constructed using a tungsten anode x-ray source with a focal spot size of 0.8 mm and a single line 256-pixel Si strip photon counting detector with a pixel pitch of 100 μm. The slice thickness was 0.5 mm. Five different size groups of calcium carbonate grains, from 105 to 215 μm in diameter, were embedded in a cylindrical resin phantom with a diameter of 16 mm to simulate μCas. The phantomsmore » were imaged at 65 kVp with an Entrance Skin Air Kerma (ESAK) of 1.2, 3, 6, and 8 mGy. The images were reconstructed using a standard filtered back projection (FBP) with a ramp filter. A total of 200 μCa images (5 different sizes of μCas × 4 different doses × 10 images for each setting) were combined with another 200 control images without μCas, to ultimately form 400 images for the reader study. The images were displayed in random order to three blinded observers, who were asked to give a binary score on each image regarding the presence of μCas. The μCa detectability for each image was evaluated in terms of binary decision theory metrics. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were calculated to study the size and dose-dependence for μCa detectability. Additionally, the influence of the partial volume effect on the μCa detectability was investigated by simulation. Results: For a μCa larger than 140 μm in diameter, detection accuracy of above 90 % was achieved with the investigated prototype spectral CT system at ESAK of 1.2 mGy. Conclusion: The proposed Si strip detector is expected to offer superior image quality with the capability to detect μCas for low dose breast imaging.« less
  • Purpose: To investigate the effect of Compton scatter on detection efficiency and charge-sharing for a Si strip photon-counting detector as a function of pixel pitch, slice thickness and total pixel length. Methods: A CT imaging system employing a silicon photon-counting detector was implemented using the GATE Monte Carlo package. A focal spot size of 300 µm, magnification of 1.33, and pixel pitches of 0.1 and 0.5mm were initially investigated. A 60 kVp spectrum with 3 mm Al filter was used and energy spectral degradation based on a prototype detector was simulated. To study charge-sharing, a single pixel was illuminated, andmore » the detector response in neighboring pixels was investigated. A longitudinally semiinfinite detector was simulated to optimize the quantum detection efficiency of the imaging system as a function of pixel pitch, slice thickness and depth of interaction. A 2.5 mm thick tungsten plate with a 0.01 mm by 1.5 mm slit was implemented to calculate the modulation transfer function (MTF) from projection-based images. A threshold of 15 keV was implemented in the detector simulation. The preliminary charge sharing investigation results considered only scattering effects and the detector electronics related factors were neglected. Results: Using a 15 keV threshold, 1% of the pixel charge migrated into neighboring pixels with a pixel size of 0.1×0.1 mm{sup 2}. The quantum detection efficiency was 77%, 84%, 87% and 89% for 15 mm, 22.5 mm, 30 mm, and 45 mm length silicon detector pixels, respectively. For a pixel pitch of 0.1 mm, the spatial frequency at 10% of the maximum MTF was found to be 5.2 lp/mm. This agreed with an experimental MTF measurement of 5.3 lp/mm with a similar detector configuration. Conclusion: Using optimized design parameters, Si strip photon-counting detectors can offer high detection efficiency and spatial resolution even in the presence of Compton scatter.« less