Plate-specific gain map correction for the improvement of detective quantum efficiency in computed radiography.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this work is to improve the noise power spectrum (NPS), and thus the detective quantum efficiency (DQE), of computed radiography (CR) images by correcting for spatial gain variations specific to individual imaging plates. CR devices have not traditionally employed gain-map corrections, unlike the case with flat-panel detectors, because of the multiplicity of plates used with each reader. The lack of gain-map correction has limited the DQE(f) at higher exposures with CR. This current work describes a feasible solution to generating plate-specific gain maps. METHODS: Ten high-exposure open field images were taken with an RQA5 spectrum, using a sixth generation CR plate suspended in air without a cassette. Image values were converted to exposure, the plates registered using fiducial dots on the plate, the ten images averaged, and then high-pass filtered to remove low frequency contributions from field inhomogeneity. A gain-map was then produced by converting all pixel values in the average into fractions with mean of one. The resultant gain-map of the plate was used to normalize subsequent single images to correct for spatial gain fluctuation. To validate performance, the normalized NPS (NNPS) for all images was calculated both with and without the gain-map correction. Variations in the quality of correction due to exposure levels, beam voltage/spectrum, CR reader used, and registration were investigated. RESULTS: The NNPS with plate-specific gain-map correction showed improvement over the noncorrected case over the range of frequencies from 0.15 to 2.5 mm(-1). At high exposure (40 mR), NNPS was 50%-90% better with gain-map correction than without. A small further improvement in NNPS was seen from carefully registering the gain-map with subsequent images using small fiducial dots, because of slight misregistration during scanning. Further improvement was seen in the NNPS from scaling the gain map about the mean to account for different beam spectra. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that a simple gain-map can be used to correct for the fixed-pattern noise in a given plate and thus improve the DQE of CR imaging. Such a method could easily be implemented by manufacturers because each plate has a unique bar code and the gain-map for all plates associated with a reader could be stored for future retrieval. These experiments indicated that an improvement in NPS (and hence, DQE) is possible, depending on exposure level, over a wide range of frequencies with this technique.
Schnell, EA; Samei, E; Dobbins, JT
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