Energy-integrating-detector multi-energy CT: Implementation and a phantom study

Liqiang Ren, Thomas Allmendinger, Ahmed Halaweish, Bernhard Schmidt, Thomas Flohr, Cynthia H. McCollough, Lifeng Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Multi-energy computed tomography (MECT) has a great potential to enable many novel clinical applications such as simultaneous multi-contrast imaging. The purpose of this study was to implement triple-beam MECT on a traditional energy-integrating-detector (EID) CT platform (EID-MECT). Methods: This was accomplished by mounting a z-axis split-filter (0.05 mm Au, 0.6 mm Sn) on Tube A of a dual-source EID CT scanner. With the two split x-ray beams from Tube A and the third beam from Tube B, three beams with different x-ray spectra can be simultaneously acquired. With Tube B operated at 70 or 80 kV and Tube A at 120 or 140 kV, four different triple-beam configurations were calibrated for MECT measurements: 70/Au120/Sn120, 80/Au120/Sn120, 70/Au140/Sn140, and 80/Au140/Sn140 kV. Iodine (I), gadolinium (Gd), bismuth (Bi) samples, and their mixtures were prepared for 2 three-material-decomposition tasks and 1 four-material-decomposition task. For each task, samples were placed in a water phantom and scanned using each of the four triple-beam configurations. For comparison, the same phantom was also scanned using three other dual-energy CT (DECT) or MECT technologies: twin-beam DECT (TB-DECT), dual-source DECT (DS-DECT), and photon-counting-detector CT (PCD-CT), all with optimal x-ray spectrum settings and at equal volume CT dose index (CTDIvol). The phantom for four-material decomposition (I/Gd/Bi/Water imaging) was scanned using the PCD-CT only (140 kV with 25, 50, 75, and 90 keV). Image-based material decomposition was performed to acquire material-specific images, on which the mean basis material concentrations and noise levels were measured and compared across all triple-beam configurations in EID-MECT and various DECT/MECT systems. Results: The optimal triple-beam configuration was task-dependent with 70/Au120/Sn120, 70/Au140/Sn140, and 70/Au120/Sn120 kV for I/Gd/Water, I/Bi/Water, and I/Gd/Bi/Water material decomposition tasks, respectively. At equal radiation dose level, EID-MECT provided comparable or better quantification accuracy in material-specific images for all three material decomposition tasks, compared to EID-based DECT and PCD-CT systems. In terms of noise level comparison, EID-MECT-derived material-specific images showed lower noise levels than TB-DECT and DS-DECT, but slightly higher than that from PCD-CT in I/Gd/Water imaging. For I/Bi/Water imaging, EID-MECT showed a comparable noise level to DS-DECT, and a much lower noise level than TB-DECT and PCD-CT in all material-specific images. For the four-material decomposition task involving I/Gd/Bi/Water, the bismuth-specific image derived from EID-MECT was slightly noisier, but both iodine- and gadolinium-specific images showed much lower noise levels in comparison to PCD-CT. Conclusions: For the first time, an EID-based MECT system that can simultaneously acquire three x-ray spectra measurements was implemented on a clinical scanner, which demonstrated comparable or better imaging performance than existing DECT and MECT systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4857-4871
Number of pages15
JournalMedical physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • dual-energy CT (DECT)
  • energy-integrating-detector (EID)
  • material decomposition
  • multi-energy CT (MECT)
  • photon-counting-detector CT (PCD-CT)
  • twin-beam design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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