Operating characteristics of tube-current-modulation techniques when scanning simple-shaped phantoms
Our objective was to investigate the operating characteristics of tube current modulation (TCM) in computed tomography (CT) when scanning two types of simple-shaped phantoms. A tissueequivalent elliptical phantom and a homogeneous cylindrical step phantom comprising 16-, 24-, and 32-cm-diameter polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) phantoms were scanned by using an automatic exposure control system with longitudinal (z-) and angular-longitudinal (xyz-) TCM and with a fixed tube current. The axial dose distribution throughout the elliptical phantom and the longitudinal dose distribution at the center of the cylindrical step phantom were measured by using a solid-state detector. Image noise was quantitatively measured at eight regions in the elliptical phantom and at 90 central regions in contiguous images over the full z extent of the cylindrical step phantom. The mean absorbed doses and the standard deviations in the elliptical phantom with z- and xyz-TCM were 12.3’ 3.7 and 11.3’ 3.5 mGy, respectively. When TCM was activated, some differences were observed in the absorbed doses of the left and the right measurement points. The average image noises in Hounsfield units (HU) and the standard deviations were 15.2’ 2.4 and 15.9’ 2.4 HU when using z- and xyz-TCM, respectively. With respect to the cylindrical step phantom under z-TCM, there were sudden decreases followed by increases in image noise at the interfaces with the 24- and 16-cm-diameter phantoms. The image noise of the 24-cm-diameter phantom was, relatively speaking, higher than those of the 16- and 32-cm-diameter phantoms. The simple-shaped phantoms used in this study can be employed to investigate the operating characteristics of automatic exposure control systems when specialized phantoms designed for that purpose are not available.
KeywordsComputed tomography Tube current modulation Dose Phantom Image noise
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