TH-C-18A-10: The Influence of Tube Current On X-Ray Focal Spot Size for 70 KV CT Imaging




Focal spot blooming is an increase in the focal spot size at increased tube current and/or decreased tube potential. In this work, we evaluated the influence of tube current on the focal spot size at low kV for two CT systems, one of which used a tube designed to reduce blooming effects.


A slit camera (10 micron slit) was used to measure focal spot size on two CT scanners from the same manufacturer (Siemens Somatom Force and Definition Flash) at 70 kV and low, medium and maximum tube currents, according to the capabilities of each system (Force: 100, 800 and 1300 mA; Flash: 100, 200 and 500 mA). Exposures were made with a stationary tube in service mode using a raised stand without table movement or flying focal spot technique. Focal spot size, nominally 0.8 and 1.2 mm, respectively, was measured parallel and perpendicular to the cathode-anode axis by calculating the full-width-at-half-maximum of the slit profile recording using computed radiographic plates.


Focal spot sizes perpendicular to the anode-cathode axis increased at the maximum mA by 5.7% on the Force and 39.1% on the Flash relative to that at the minimal mA, even though the mA was increased 13-fold on the Force and only 5- fold on the Flash. Focal spot size increased parallel to the anode-cathode axis by 70.4% on Force and 40.9% on Flash.


For CT protocols using low kV, high mA is typically required. These protocols are relevant in children and smaller adults, and for dual-energy scanning. Technical measures to limit focal spot blooming are important in these settings to avoid reduced spatial resolution. The x-ray tube on a recently-introduced scanner appears to greatly reduce blooming effects, even at very high mA values.

CHM has research support from Siemens Healthcare.