In x-ray computed tomography (CT), materials having different elemental compositions can be represented by identical pixel values on a CT image (ie, CT numbers), depending on the mass density of the material. Thus, the differentiation and classification of different tissue types and contrast agents can be extremely challenging. In dual-energy CT, an additional attenuation measurement is obtained with a second x-ray spectrum (ie, a second "energy"), allowing the differentiation of multiple materials. Alternatively, this allows quantification of the mass density of two or three materials in a mixture with known elemental composition. Recent advances in the use of energy-resolving, photon-counting detectors for CT imaging suggest the ability to acquire data in multiple energy bins, which is expected to further improve the signal-tonoise ratio for material-specific imaging. In this review, the underlying motivation and physical principles of dualor multi-energy CT are reviewed and each of the current technical approaches is described. In addition, current and evolving clinical applications are introduced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging