Monte Carlo study on the imaging performance of powder Lu2SiO5:Ce phosphor screens under x-ray excitation: Comparison with Gd2O2S:Tb screens



Lu2SiO5:Ce (LSO) scintillator is a relatively new luminescent material which has been successfully applied in positron emission tomography systems. Since it has been recently commercially available in powder form, it could be of value to investigate its performance for use in x-ray projection imaging as both physical and scintillating properties indicate a promising material for such applications. In the present study, a custom and validated Monte Carlo simulation code was used in order to examine the performance of LSO, under diagnostic radiology (mammography and general radiography) conditions. The Monte Carlo code was based on a model using Mie scattering theory for the description of light attenuation. Imaging characteristics, related to image brightness, spatial resolution and noise of LSO screens were predicted using only physical parameters of the phosphor. The overall performance of LSO powder phosphor screens was investigated in terms of the: (i) quantum detection efficiency (ii) emitted K-characteristic radiation (iii) luminescence efficiency (iv) modulation transfer function (v) Swank factor and (vi) zero-frequency detective quantum efficiency [DQE(0)]. Results were compared to the traditional rare-earth Gd2O2S:Tb (GOS) phosphor material. The relative luminescence efficiency of LSO phosphor was found inferior to that of GOS. This is due to the lower intrinsic conversion efficiency of LSO (0.08 instead of 0.15 of GOS) and the relatively high light extinction coefficient mext of this phosphor (0.239μm1 instead of 0.218μm1 for GOS). However, the property of increased light extinction combined with the rather sharp angular distribution of scattered light photons (anisotropy factor g=0.624 for LSO instead of 0.494 for GOS) reduce lateral light spreading and improve spatial resolution. In addition, LSO screens were found to exhibit better x-ray absorption as well as higher signal to noise transfer properties in the energy range from 18keV up to 50.2keV (e.g. DQE(0)=0.62 at 18keV and for 34mgcm2, instead of 0.58 for GOS). The results indicate that certain optical properties of LSO (optical extinction coefficient, scattering anisotropy factor) combined with the relatively high x-ray coefficients, make this material a promising phosphor which, under appropriate conditions, could be considered for use in x-ray projection imaging detectors.