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2 March 2006 Dual-energy imaging using a photon counting detector with electronic spectrum-splitting
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This paper presents a dual-energy imaging technique optimized for contrast-enhanced mammography using a photon counting detector. Each photon pulse is processed separately in the detector and the addition of an electronic threshold near the middle of the energy range of the x-ray spectrum allows discrimination of high and low energy photons. This effectively makes the detector energy sensitive, and allows the acquisition of high- and low-energy images simultaneously. These high- and low-energy images can be combined to dual-energy images where the anatomical clutter has been suppressed. By setting the electronic threshold close to 33.2 keV (the k-edge of iodine) the system is optimized for dual-energy contrast-enhanced imaging of breast tumors. Compared to other approaches, this method not only eliminates the need for separate exposures that might lead to motion artifacts, it also eliminates the otherwise deteriorating overlap between high- and low-energy spectra. We present phantom dual-energy images acquired on a prototype system to illustrate that the technique is already operational, albeit in its infancy. We also present a theoretical estimation of the potential gain in tumor signal-difference-to-noise ratio when using this electronic spectrum-splitting method as opposed to acquiring the high- and low-energy images separately with double exposures with separate x-ray spectra. Assuming ideal energy sensitive photon counting detectors, we arrive at the conclusion that the signal-difference-to-noise ratio could be increased by 145% at constant dose. We also illustrate our results on synthetic images.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Hans Bornefalk and Mats Lundqvist "Dual-energy imaging using a photon counting detector with electronic spectrum-splitting", Proc. SPIE 6142, Medical Imaging 2006: Physics of Medical Imaging, 61421H (2 March 2006);

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