Methods: The feasibility study was performed using a benchtop setup consisting of an x-ray source array with 45 distributed focal spots, each operating at 120kVp, and an Electronic Control System (ECS) for high speed control of the x-ray output from individual focal spots. The projection data was collected by an array of detectors configured specifically for head imaging. The basic performance of the CNT x-ray source array was characterized. By rotating the object in discrete angular steps, a potential s-HCT configuration was emulated. The collected projection images were reconstructed using an iterative reconstruction algorithm developed specifically for this configuration. Evaluation of the image quality was completed by comparing this image of the ACR CT phantom obtained with the s-HCT to that obtained by a clinical CT scanner.
Results: The CNT x-ray source array was found to have a consistent focal spot size of 1.3×1.1 mm2 for all beams (IEC 1.0). At 120 kVp the HVL was measured to be 5.8 mm Al. Axial images have been acquired with slice thickness 2.5 mm to evaluate the imaging performance of the s-HCT system. Contrast-noise-ratio was measured for the acrylic (120 HU) and water (0 HU) materials in the ACR CT 464 phantom Module 01. A value of 5.2 is reported for the benchtop setup with an entrance dose of 2.9 mGy, compared to the clinical measurement of 30.5 found at 74.5 mGy. These images demonstrate that the s-HCT system based on CNT x-ray source arrays is feasible.
Conclusion: Customized CNT x-ray sources were developed specifically for head CT imaging. The feasibility of using this source array to construct a s-HCT scanner has been demonstrated by emulating a potential CT configuration. It is shown that diagnostic quality CT images can be obtained using the proposed system geometry. These preliminary images provide confidence that a s-HCT system can be constructed for clinical evaluation.