Optimization of the geometry and speed of a moving blocker system for cone-beam computed tomography scatter correction

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Abstract

Purpose

X-ray scatter is a significant barrier to image quality improvements in cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). A moving blocker-based strategy was previously proposed to simultaneously estimate scatter and reconstruct the complete volume within the field of view (FOV) from a single CBCT scan. A blocker consisting of lead stripes is inserted between the X-ray source and the imaging object, and moves back and forth along the rotation axis during gantry rotation. While promising results were obtained in our previous studies, the geometric design and moving speed of the blocker were set empirically. The goal of this work is to optimize the geometry and speed of the moving block system.

Methods

Performance of the blocker was examined through Monte Carlo (MC) simulation and experimental studies with various geometry designs and moving speeds. All hypothetical designs employed an anthropomorphic pelvic phantom. The scatter estimation accuracy was quantified by using lead stripes ranging from 5 to 100 pixels on the detector plane. An iterative reconstruction based on total variation minimization was used to reconstruct CBCT images from unblocked projection data after scatter correction. The reconstructed image was evaluated under various combinations of lead strip width and interspace (ranging from 10 to 60 pixels) and different moving speed (ranging from 1 to 30 pixels per projection).

Results

MC simulation showed that the scatter estimation error varied from 0.8% to 5.8%. Phantom experiment showed that CT number error in the reconstructed CBCT images varied from 13 to 35. Highest reconstruction accuracy was achieved when the strip width was 20 pixels and interspace was 60 pixels and the moving speed was 15 pixels per projection.

Conclusions

Scatter estimation can be achieved in a large range of lead strip width and interspace combinations. The moving speed does not have a very strong effect on reconstruction result if it is above 5 pixels per projection. Geometry design of the blocker affected image reconstruction accuracy more. The optimal geometry of the blocker has a strip width of 20 pixels and an interspace three times the strip width, which means 25% detector is covered by the blocker, while the optimal moving speed is 15 pixels per projection.

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