CD Arvanitis, SE Bohndiek, J Blakesley, A Olivo, RD Speller
Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors (CMOS) active pixel sensors can be optically coupled to CsI:Tl phosphors forming a indirect active pixel flat panel imager (APFPI) for high performance medical imaging. The aim of this work is to determine the x-ray imaging capabilities of CMOS-based APFPI and study the signal and noise transfer properties of CsI:Tl phosphors. Three different CsI:Tl phosphors from two different vendors have been used to produce three system configurations. The performance of each system configuration has been studied in terms of the modulation transfer function (MTF), noise power spectra, and detective quantum efficiency (DQE) in the mammographic energy range. A simple method to determine quantum limited systems in this energy range is also presented. In addition, with aid of monochromatic synchrotron radiation, the effect of iodine characteristic x-rays of the CsI:Tl on the MTF has been determined. A Monte Carlo simulation of the signal transfer properties of the imager is also presented in order to study the stages that degrade the spatial resolution of our current system. The effect of using substrate patterning during the growth of CsI:Tl columnar structure was also studied, along with the effect of CsI:Tl fixed pattern noise due to local variations in the scintillation light. CsI:Tl fixed pattern noise appears to limit the performance of our current system configurations. All the system configurations are quantum limited at 0.23 microC/kg with two of them having DQE (0) equal to 0.57. Active pixel flat panel imagers are shown to be digital x-ray imagers with almost constant DQE throughout a significant part of their dynamic range and in particular at very low exposures.