First Clinical Photon-counting Detector CT System: Technical Evaluation

Kishore Rajendran, Martin Petersilka, André Henning, Elisabeth R. Shanblatt, Bernhard Schmidt, Thomas G. Flohr, Andrea Ferrero, Francis Baffour, Felix E. Diehn, Lifeng Yu, Prabhakar Rajiah, Joel G. Fletcher, Shuai Leng, Cynthia H. McCollough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The first clinical CT system to use photon-counting detector (PCD) technology has become available for patient care. Purpose: To assess the technical performance of the PCD CT system with use of phantoms and representative participant examinations. Materials and Methods: Institutional review board approval and written informed consent from four participants were obtained. Technical performance of a dual-source PCD CT system was measured for standard and high-spatial-resolution (HR) collimations Noise power spectrum, modulation transfer function, section sensitivity profile, iodine CT number accuracy in virtual monoenergetic images (VMIs), and iodine concentration accuracy were measured. Four participants were enrolled (between May 2021 and August 2021) in this prospective study and scanned using similar or lower radiation doses as their respective clinical examinations performed on the same day using energy-integrating detector (EID) CT. Image quality and findings from the participants’ PCD CT and EID CT examinations were compared. Results: All standard technical performance measures met accreditation and regulatory requirements. Relative to filtered back-projection reconstructions, images from iterative reconstruction had lower noise magnitude but preserved noise power spectrum shape and peak frequency. Maximum in-plane spatial resolutions of 125 and 208 µm were measured for HR and standard PCD CT scans, respectively. Minimum values for section sensitivity profile full width at half maximum measurements were 0.34 mm (0.2-mm nominal section thickness) and 0.64 mm (0.4-mm nominal section thickness) for HR and standard PCD CT scans, respectively. In a 120-kV standard PCD CT scan of a 40-cm phantom, VMI iodine CT numbers had a mean percentage error of 5.7%, and iodine concentration had root mean squared error of 0.5 mg/cm3, similar to previously reported values for EID CT. VMIs, iodine maps, and virtual noncontrast images were created for a coronary CT angiogram acquired with 66-msec temporal resolution. Participant PCD CT images showed up to 47% lower noise and/or improved spatial resolution compared with EID CT. Conclusion: Technical performance of clinical photon-counting detector (PCD) CT is improved relative to that of a current state-of-the-art CT system. The dual-source PCD geometry facilitated 66-msec temporal resolution multienergy cardiac imaging. Study participant images illustrated the effect of the improved technical performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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