European Radiology

, Volume 19, Issue 9, pp 2275–2285

A novel method for contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) evaluation of digital mammography detectors


DOI: 10.1007/s00330-009-1409-3

Cite this article as:
Baldelli, P., Phelan, N. & Egan, G. Eur Radiol (2009) 19: 2275. doi:10.1007/s00330-009-1409-3


The purpose of this study was to test a new, simple method of evaluating the contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) over the entire image field of a digital detector and to compare different mammography systems. Images were taken under clinical exposure conditions for a range of simulated breast thicknesses using poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). At each PMMA thickness, a second image which included an additional 0.2-mm Al sheet was also acquired. Image processing software was used to calculate the CNR in multiple regions of interest (ROI) covering the entire area of the detector in order to obtain a ‘CNR image’. Five detector types were evaluated, two CsI–αSi (GE Healthcare) flat panel systems, one αSe (Hologic) flat panel system and a two generations of scanning photon counting digital detectors (Sectra). Flat panel detectors exhibit better CNR uniformity compared with the first-generation scanning photon counting detector in terms of mean pixel value variation. However, significant improvement in CNR uniformity was observed for the next-generation scanning detector. The method proposed produces a map of the CNR and a measurement of uniformity throughout the entire image field of the detector. The application of this method enables quality control measurement of individual detectors and a comparison of detectors using different technologies.


Digital mammographyImage qualityContrast-to-noise ratio

Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BreastCheckThe National Cancer Screening ServiceDublin 7Ireland