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Seeram Chapter 5: Data Acquisition in CT

Data Collection Basics

X-ray source & detector

must be in & stay in alignment Beam moves (scans) around patient

many transmission


X-Ray beams

Data Collection Basics

Pre-patient beam collimated to pass only through slice of interest shaped by special bow tie filter for uniformity



Data Collection Basics (cont)

Beam attenuated by patient Transmitted photons detected by scanner Detected photon intensity converted to electrical

signal (analog) Electrical signal converted to digital value

A to D converter

Digital value sent to reconstruction computer

CT Ray
That part of beam falling onto a single detector


Each CT Ray
attenuated by patient

projected onto one detector detector produces electrical signal produces single data sample

CT View
# of simultaneously collected rays

Scan Requires Many Data Samples

# Data Samples = [# data samples per view] X

[# views]

Data Samples = [# detectors] X [# data samples per detector]

Acquisition Geometries
Pencil Beam

Fan Beam



Pencil Beam Geometry

Tube-detector assembly translates left to right

Entire assembly rotates 1o

1st Generation CT



Fan Beam Geometry

3nd Generation


2nd Generation 4th Generation

Comparing Long vs. Short Geometry

Long Geometry

Smaller fan angle Longer source-detector distance Lower beam intensity Lower patient dose Scan FOV Scan FOV

More image noise

Less image blur Requires larger gantry

Spiral Geometry
X-ray tube rotates continuously around patient Patient continuously
Interconnect Wiring

transported through gantry No physical wiring between gantry & x-ray tube Requires Slip Ring technology


Slip Rings


Whats a Slip Ring?

Slip Rings
Electrical connections made by stationary brushes pressing

against rotating circular conductor Similar to electric motor / generator design

X-Ray Generator Configurations with Slip Ring Technology

Supply high voltage to a continually

rotating x-ray tube?


Stationary Generator & Transformer

#2 Stationary Generator Transformer & x-ray tube rotate in gantry #3 Transformer, generator & tube rotate in gantry

Option #1: Stationary High Voltage Transformer

Incoming AC Power X-Ray Generator Primary Voltage Secondary Voltage High Voltage Transformer X-Ray Tube

Option #1: Stationary High Voltage Transformer

Line Voltage


Secondary Voltage

Primary Voltage

HV Transformer

high voltage must pass

through slip rings

Slip Rings


Option #2: Rotating High Voltage Transformer

Incoming AC Power X-Ray Generator Primary Voltage Secondary Voltage High Voltage Transformer X-Ray Tube

Option #2: Rotating High Voltage Transformer

Line Voltage


Primary Voltage

HV Transformer

low voltage must

pass through slip rings


Slip Rings


Rotating Generator
Incoming AC Power X-Ray Generator Primary Voltage Secondary Voltage High Voltage Transformer X-Ray Tube

Rotating Generator
low line voltage

must pass through slip rings

Line Voltage



Slip Rings

HV Transformer

Spiral CT Advantages
Faster scan times minimal interscan delays no need to stop / reverse direction of rotation Slip rings solve problem of cabling to rotating equipment Continuous acquisition protocols possible

X-Ray System Components

X-Ray Generator X-Ray Tube Beam Filter Collimators

X-Ray Generator
3 phase originally used
Most vendors now use high frequency generators relatively small

small enough to rotate with x-ray tube can fit inside gantry

X-Ray Tube

X-Ray Tube
Must provide sufficient intensity of transmitted

radiation to detectors Radiation incident on detector depends upon

beam intensity from tube patient attenuation

beams energy spectrum patient thickness atomic # density

Maximizing X-Ray Tube Heat Capacity

rotating anode high rotational speed small target angle large anode diameter focal spot size appropriate to geometry distances detector size

Special Considerations for Slip Ring Scanners

continuous scanning means Heat added to tube faster No cooling between slices Need more heat capacity faster cooling

Why not use a Radioactive Source instead of an X-Ray Tube?

High intensity required
X-ray tubes produce higher

intensities than sources

Single energy spectrum desired

Produced by radioactive source X-ray tubes produce spectrum of


Coping with x-ray tube energy


heavy beam filtering (see next

slide) reconstruction algorithm corrects for beam hardening

CT Beam Filtration
Hardens beam preferentially removes low-energy radiation

Removes greater fraction of lowenergy photons than high energy photons

reduces patient exposure



Attempts to produce uniform

intensity & beam hardening across beam cross section

CT Beam Collimation
Pre-collimators between tube & patient


between patient & detector


Constrains size of beam
Reduces production of scatter May have several stages or sets of jaws

Tube Pre-collimator


Reduces scatter radiation reaching detector

Helped define slice (beam) thickness for some


Post-collimator Detector

CT Detector Technology: Desirable Characteristics

High efficiency
Quick response time High dynamic range Stability

CT Detector Efficiency
Ability to absorb &

convert x-ray photons to electrical signals

Efficiency Components
Capture efficiency fraction of beam incident on active detector Absorption efficiency fraction of photons incident on the detector which are absorbed Conversion efficiency fraction of absorbed energy which produce signal

Overall Detector Efficiency

Overall detector efficiency =

capture efficiency X absorption efficiency X conversion efficiency

Capture Efficiency
Fraction of

beam incident on active detector

Absorption Efficiency
Fraction of photons incident on the detector which are absorbed

Depends upon

atomic # density size thickness

Depends on beam


capture efficiency X absorption efficiency X conversion efficiency

Conversion Efficiency
Ability to convert x-ray energy to light
GE Gemstone Detector made of garnet

Conversion Efficiency
Ability to convert x-ray energy to light

Siemens UltraFastCeramic (UFC) CT Detector Proprietary Fast afterglow decay UFC Material UFC Plate

Response Time
Minimum time after detection of

1st event until detector can detect 2nd event If time between events < response time, 2nd event may not be detected Shorter response time better

Consistency of detector signal

over time
Short term Long term

The less stable, the more

frequently calibration required

Dynamic Range
Ratio of largest to smallest signal

which can be faithfully detected

Ability to faithfully detect large

range of intensities
Typical dynamic range:

much better than film

Detector Types: Gas Ionization

X-rays converted directly to electrical signal
Filled with Air

Ionization + Chamber
X-Rays - +

Electrical Signal

CT Ionization Detectors
Many detectors (chambers) used adjacent walls shared between chambers Techniques to increase efficiency Increase chamber thickness

x-rays encounter longer path length

Pressurize air (xenon)

more gas molecules encountered per unit path length



Older Style Scintillation Detectors

X-rays fall on crystal material Crystal glows

Light flash directed toward photomultiplier (PM)

Light directed through light pipe or conduit

PM tube converts light to electrical signal signal proportional to light intensity


Electrical Signal

Detector Types: Scintillation

X-ray energy converted to light

Light converted to electrical signal

Photomultiplier Tube
X-Rays Light Electrical Signal

Scintillation Crystal

Photomultiplier Tubes
Light incident on Photocathode of PM tube

Photocathode releases electrons


X-Rays Scintillation Crystal

Light Photocathode PM Tube


Photomultiplier Tubes
Electrons attracted to series of dynodes each dynode slightly more positive than last one

X-Rays Scintillation Crystal



Dynodes PM Tube

Solid State Detectors

Crystal converts incident x-rays to light Photodiode semiconductor current proportional to


Photodiode Semiconductor X-Rays Light Electrical Signal

Made of two types of materials p-type n-type Lens focuses light from crystal onto junction of p &

n type materials

p n X-Rays Light Lens Junction

Light controls resistance of junction Semiconductor current proportional to light falling

on junction

p n X-Rays Light Lens Junction

Solid State Detectors

Output electrical signal amplified Fast response time Large dynamic range Almost 100% conversion & photon capture efficiency Scintillation materials
cadmium tungstate high-purity ceramic material

Detector Electronics
From Detector Pre-Amplifier

Increases signal strength for later processing

Logarithmic Amplifier

Analog to Digital Converter

To Computer

Compresses dynamic range; Converts transmission intensity into attenuation data

Log10x = ? means 10? = x?
logarithms are exponents log10x is exponent to which 10 is

raised to get x log10100 =2 because 102=100

Input Logarithm 100,000 10,000 1,000 100 10 1

5 4 3 2 1 0

Using logarithms the difference between 10,000 and 100,000 is the same as the difference between 10 and 100

1,000 Hard to distinguish between 1 & 10 here

Input Logarithm
100,000 10,000 1,000 100 10 1
Difference between 1 & 10 the same as between 100 & 1000 Logarithms stretch low end of scale; compress high end

1 3 = log 1000 2 =log 100 1 = log 10 0 = log 10 1




5 4 3 2 1 0




Logarithmic Amplifier
accepts widely varying input takes logarithm of input
100,000 10,000 1,000 100 10 1

5 4 3 2 1 0

amplifies logarithm
logarithm output dynamic

range now appropriate for A/D conversion

Improving Quality & Detection

Smaller detectors Smaller focal spot Larger focus-detector

distance Smaller patient-detector distance

Thinner slices
less patient variation over

slice thickness distance