The impact of the system parameters of the modulator on X-ray scatter correction using primary modulation is studied and an optimization of the modulator design is presented. Recently, a promising scatter correction method for X-ray computed tomography (CT) that uses a checkerboard pattern of attenuating blockers (primary modulator) placed between the X-ray source and the object has been developed and experimentally verified. The
blocker size, d, and the blocker transmission factor, α, are critical to the performance of the primary modulation
method. In this work, an error caused by aliasing of primary whose magnitude depends on the choices of d and α, and the scanned object, is set as the object function to be minimized, with constraints including the X-ray focal spot, the physical size of the detector element, and the noise level. The optimization is carried out in two steps. In the first step, d is chosen as small as possible but should meet a lower-bound condition. In the
second step, α should be selected to balance the error level in the scatter estimation and the noise level in the
reconstructed image. The lower bound of d on our tabletop CT system is 0.83 mm. Numerical simulations suggest 0.6 < α < 0.8 is appropriate. Using a Catphan 600 phantom, a copper modulator (d = 0.89 mm, α = 0.70) expectedly outperforms an aluminum modulator (d = 2.83 mm, α = 0.90). With the aluminum modulator, our method reduces the average error of CT number in selected contrast rods from 371.4 to 25.4 Hounsfield units (HU) and enhances the contrast to noise ratio (CNR) from 10.9 to 17.2; when the copper modulator is used, the
error is further reduced to 21.9 HU and the CNR is further increased to 19.2.