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25 March 2016 Comparison of quantitative k-edge empirical estimators using an energy-resolved photon-counting detector
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Using an energy-resolving photon counting detector, the amount of k-edge material in the x-ray path can be estimated using a process known as material decomposition. However, non-ideal effects within the detector make it difficult to accurately perform this decomposition. This work evaluated the k-edge material decomposition accuracy of two empirical estimators. A neural network estimator and a linearized maximum likelihood estimator with error look-up tables (A-table method) were evaluated through simulations and experiments. Each estimator was trained on system-specific calibration data rather than specific modeling of non-ideal detector effects or the x-ray source spectrum. Projections through a step-wedge calibration phantom consisting of different path lengths through PMMA, aluminum, and a k-edge material was used to train the estimators. The estimators were tested by decomposing data acquired through different path lengths of the basis materials. The estimators had similar performance in the chest phantom simulations with gadolinium. They estimated four of the five densities of gadolinium with less than 2mg/mL bias. The neural networks estimates demonstrated lower bias but higher variance than the A-table estimates in the iodine contrast agent simulations. The neural networks had an experimental variance lower than the CRLB indicating it is a biased estimator. In the experimental study, the k-edge material contribution was estimated with less than 14% bias for the neural network estimator and less than 41% bias for the A-table method.
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Kevin C. Zimmerman and Taly Gilat Schmidt "Comparison of quantitative k-edge empirical estimators using an energy-resolved photon-counting detector", Proc. SPIE 9783, Medical Imaging 2016: Physics of Medical Imaging, 97831S (25 March 2016);

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