Vision 20/20: Single photon counting x-ray detectors in medical imaging



Photon counting detectors (PCDs) with energy discrimination capabilities have been developed for medical x-ray computed tomography (CT) and x-ray (XR) imaging. Using detection mechanisms that are completely different from the current energy integrating detectors and measuring the material information of the object to be imaged, these PCDs have the potential not only to improve the current CT and XR images, such as dose reduction, but also to open revolutionary novel applications such as molecular CT and XR imaging. The performance of PCDs is not flawless, however, and it seems extremely challenging to develop PCDs with close to ideal characteristics. In this paper, the authors offer our vision for the future of PCD-CT and PCD-XR with the review of the current status and the prediction of (1) detector technologies, (2) imaging technologies, (3) system technologies, and (4) potential clinical benefits with PCDs.