The piecewise-linear dynamic attenuator has been proposed as a mechanism in CT scanning for personalizing the x-ray illumination on a patient- and application-specific basis. Previous simulations have shown benefits in image quality, scatter, and dose objectives. We report on the first prototype implementation. This prototype is reduced in scale and speed and is integrated into a tabletop CT system with a smaller field of view (25 cm) and longer scan time (42 s) compared to a clinical system. Stainless steel wedges were machined and affixed to linear actuators, which were in turn held secure by a frame built using rapid prototyping technologies. The actuators were computer-controlled, with characteristic noise of about 100 microns. Simulations suggest that in a clinical setting, the impact of actuator noise could lead to artifacts of only 1 HU. Ring artifacts were minimized by careful design of the wedges. A water beam hardening correction was applied and the scan was collimated to reduce scatter. We scanned a 16 cm water cylinder phantom as well as an anthropomorphic pediatric phantom. The artifacts present in reconstructed images are comparable to artifacts normally seen with this tabletop system. Compared to a flat-field reference scan, increased detectability at reduced dose is shown and streaking is reduced. Artifacts are modest in our images and further refinement is possible. Issues of mechanical speed and stability in the challenging clinical CT environment will be addressed in a future design.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging