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28 May 1999 Optimization of the presampling modulation transfer function of flat-panel detectors for digital radiology
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Large area, flat panel solid state detectors are being investigated for digital radiography and fluoroscopy. These detectors employ an x-ray imaging layer of either photoconductor ('direct' conversion method) or phosphor ('indirect' conversion method) to detect x-rays. In both cases the image formed at the surface of the layer is read out in situ using an active matrix array. Depending upon the resolution of the layer compared to the pixel size, undersampling of the image and hence aliasing may occur. Aliasing is always present regardless of the pixel size in direct detectors based on amorphous selenium because of its high intrinsic resolution. Aliasing gives rise to increased noise which results in reduction of detective quantum efficiency DQE at high spatial frequencies. The aliasing can be reduced or even eliminated by blurring prior to pixel sampling (e.g., by scattering in a phosphor layer). However, blurring, which may be quantified by the spatial frequency f dependent modulation transfer function MTF(f), also has a deleterious effect: the imaging system becomes much more susceptible to noise for example that arising in the charge amplifiers or secondary quantum statistics. Note that in principle, the system MTF can be corrected to any desired values in a digital system thus MTF has no predictive value for the quality of an imaging system, rather it is the DQE(f) which determines the overall signal to noise ratio independently of the MTF enhancement chosen. Nevertheless, determining the ideal level of presampling blurring (i.e., the Presampling Modulation Transfer function) is not straightforward. A problem caused by blurring is that the degree of blurring often depends on the depth of absorption of the x-ray in the imaging layer. In such cases (as pointed out by Lubberts) additional noise is transferred to the image. The predictions of a Lubberts model will be compared with published measurements of DQE for both direct and indirect detectors. A preliminary conclusion, is that blurring by CsI phosphor layers is non-ideal and leads to a significant loss of DQE at high spatial frequencies while no such loss is occurring in (alpha) -Se layers due to the equal MTF (in this case MTF(f) approximately equals 1) at all depths. Thus the only method which appears practical to cause blurring so as to avoid noise aliasing while avoiding the Lubberts depth dependent effect is to have a perfect MTF in the imaging layer and then blur before sampling. Such an approach has been proposed for the direct method based on the use of a partially conducting layer. Theoretical estimates of the final DQE(f) to be expected using this variation of the direct conversion method are produced.
© (1999) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
John A. Rowlands and Winston Guangda Ji "Optimization of the presampling modulation transfer function of flat-panel detectors for digital radiology", Proc. SPIE 3659, Medical Imaging 1999: Physics of Medical Imaging, (28 May 1999);

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