Radiation imaging physics
Efficacy of fixed filtration for rapid kVp-switching dual energy x-ray systems
Dose efficiency of dual kVp imaging can be improved if the two beams are filtered to remove photons in the common part of their spectra, thereby increasing spectral separation. While there are a number of advantages to rapid kVp-switching for dual energy, it may not be feasible to have two different filters for the two spectra. Therefore, the authors are interested in whether a fixed added filter can improve the dose efficiency of kVp-switching dual energy x-ray systems.
The authors hypothesized that a K-edge filter would provide the energy selectivity needed to remove overlap of the spectra and hence increase the precision of material separation at constant dose. Preliminary simulations were done using calcium and water basis materials and 80 and 140 kVp x-ray spectra. Precision of the decomposition was evaluated based on the propagation of the Poisson noise through the decomposition function. Considering availability and cost, the authors chose a commercial Gd2O2S screen as the filter for their experimental validation. Experiments were conducted on a table-top system using a phantom with various thicknesses of acrylic and copper and 70 and 125 kVp x-ray spectra. The authors kept the phantom exposure roughly constant with and without filtration by adjusting the tube current. The filtered and unfiltered raw data of both low and high energy were decomposed into basis material and the variance of the decomposition for each thickness pair was calculated. To evaluate the filtration performance, the authors measured the ratio of material decomposition variance with and without filtration.
Simulation results show that the ideal filter material depends on the object composition and thickness, and ranges across the lanthanide series, with higher atomic number filters being preferred for more attenuating objects. Variance reduction increases with filter thickness, and substantial reductions (40%) can be achieved with a 2× loss in intensity. The authors’ experimental results validate the simulations, yet were overall slightly worse than expectation. For large objects, conventional (non-K-edge) beam hardening filters perform well.
This study demonstrates the potential of fixed K-edge filtration to improve the dose efficiency and material decomposition precision for rapid kVp-switching dual energy systems.