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Swank Factor of Segmented Scintillators in Multi-Slice CT Detectors: Pulse Height Spectra and Light Escape

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A Howansky

A Howansky*, B Peng , A Lubinsky , W Zhao , Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY


TH-CD-207B-6 (Thursday, August 4, 2016) 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Room: 207B

Purpose: Pulse height spectra (PHS) have been used to determine the Swank factor of a scintillator by measuring fluctuations in its light output per x-ray interaction. The Swank factor and x-ray quantum efficiency of a scintillator define the upper limit to its imaging performance, i.e. DQE(0). The Swank factor below the K-edge is dominated by optical properties, i.e. variations in light escape efficiency from different depths of interaction, denoted e(z). These variations can be optimized to improve tradeoffs in x-ray absorption, light yield, and spatial resolution. This work develops a quantitative model for interpreting measured PHS, and estimating e(z) on an absolute scale. The method is used to investigate segmented ceramic GOS scintillators used in multi-slice CT detectors.

Methods: PHS of a ceramic GOS plate (1 mm thickness) and segmented GOS array (1.4 mm thick) were measured at 46 keV. Signal and noise propagation through x-ray conversion gain, light escape, detection by a photomultiplier tube and dynode amplification were modeled using a cascade of stochastic gain stages. PHS were calculated with these expressions and compared to measurements. Light escape parameters were varied until modeled PHS agreed with measurements. The resulting estimates of e(z) were used to calculate PHS without measurement noise to determine the inherent Swank factor.

Results: The variation in e(z) was 67.2-89.7% in the plate and 40.2-70.8% in the segmented sample, corresponding to conversion gains of 28.6-38.1 keV⁻¹ and 17.1-30.1 keV⁻¹, respectively. The inherent Swank factors of the plate and segmented sample were 0.99 and 0.95, respectively.

Conclusion: The high light escape efficiency in the ceramic GOS samples yields high Swank factors and DQE(0) in CT applications. The PHS model allows the intrinsic optical properties of scintillators to be deduced from PHS measurements, thus it provides new insights for evaluating the imaging performance of segmented ceramic GOS scintillators.

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