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Keywords:

  • computed radiography;
  • direct conversion;
  • direct digital radiography;
  • flat panel detector;
  • indirect conversion;
  • veterinary

Use of digital radiography is growing rapidly in veterinary medicine. Two basic digital imaging systems are available, computed radiography (CR) and direct digital radiography (DDR). Computed radiographic detectors use a two-step process for image capture and processing. Image capture is by X-ray sensitive phosphors in the image plate. The image plate reader transforms the latent phosphor image to light photons that are converted to an analog electrical signal. An analog to digital converter is used to digitize the electrical signal before computer analysis. Direct digital detectors provide digital data by direct readout after image capture—a reader unnecessary. Types of DDR detectors are flat panel detectors and charge coupled device (CCD) detectors. Flat panel detectors are composed of layers of semiconductors for image capture with transistor and microscopic circuitry embedded in a pixel array. Direct converting flat panel detectors convert incident X-rays directly into electrical charges. Indirect detectors convert X-rays to visible light, then to electrical charges. All flat panel detectors send a digitized electrical signal to a computer using a direct link. Charge coupled device detectors have a small chip similar to those used in digital cameras. A scintillator first converts X-rays to a light signal that is minified by an optical system before reaching the chip. The chip sends a digital signal directly to a computer. Both CR and DDR provide quality diagnostic images. CR is a mature technology while DDR is an emerging technology.