A method to generate equivalent energy spectra and filtration models based on measurement for multidetector CT Monte Carlo dosimetry simulations

Adam C. Turner, Di Zhang, Hyun J. Kim, John J. Demarco, Chris H. Cagnon, Erin Angel, Dianna D. Cody, Donna M. Stevens, Andrew N. Primak, Cynthia H. McCollough, Michael F. McNitt-Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to present a method for generating x-ray source models for performing Monte Carlo (MC) radiation dosimetry simulations of multidetector row CT (MDCT) scanners. These so-called "equivalent" source models consist of an energy spectrum and filtration description that are generated based wholly on the measured values and can be used in place of proprietary manufacturer's data for scanner-specific MDCT MC simulations. Required measurements include the half value layers (HVL1 and HVL2) and the bowtie profile (exposure values across the fan beam) for the MDCT scanner of interest. Using these measured values, a method was described (a) to numerically construct a spectrum with the calculated HVLs approximately equal to those measured (equivalent spectrum) and then (b) to determine a filtration scheme (equivalent filter) that attenuates the equivalent spectrum in a similar fashion as the actual filtration attenuates the actual x-ray beam, as measured by the bowtie profile measurements. Using this method, two types of equivalent source models were generated: One using a spectrum based on both HVL1 and HVL2 measurements and its corresponding filtration scheme and the second consisting of a spectrum based only on the measured HVL1 and its corresponding filtration scheme. Finally, a third type of source model was built based on the spectrum and filtration data provided by the scanner's manufacturer. MC simulations using each of these three source model types were evaluated by comparing the accuracy of multiple CT dose index (CTDI) simulations to measured CTDI values for 64-slice scanners from the four major MDCT manufacturers. Comprehensive evaluations were carried out for each scanner using each kVp and bowtie filter combination available. CTDI experiments were performed for both head (16 cm in diameter) and body (32 cm in diameter) CTDI phantoms using both central and peripheral measurement positions. Both equivalent source model types result in simulations with an average root mean square (RMS) error between the measured and simulated values of approximately 5% across all scanner and bowtie filter combinations, all kVps, both phantom sizes, and both measurement positions, while data provided from the manufacturers gave an average RMS error of approximately 12% pooled across all conditions. While there was no statistically significant difference between the two types of equivalent source models, both of these model types were shown to be statistically significantly different from the source model based on manufacturer's data. These results demonstrate that an equivalent source model based only on measured values can be used in place of manufacturer's data for Monte Carlo simulations for MDCT dosimetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2154-2164
Number of pages11
JournalMedical physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009


  • Beam filtration
  • Beam spectra
  • CT
  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • Multidetector row CT
  • Radiation dose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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