Improving pulse detection in multibin photon-counting detectors

Scott S. Hsieh, Norbert J. Pelc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Energy-discriminating, photon-counting (EDPC) detectors are attractive for their potential for improved detective quantum efficiency and for their spectral imaging capabilities. However, at high count rates, counts are lost, the detected spectrum is distorted, and the advantages of EDPC detectors disappear. Existing EDPC detectors identify counts by analyzing the signal with a bank of comparators. We explored alternative methods for pulse detection for multibin EDPC detectors that could improve performance at high count rates. The detector signal was simulated in a Monte Carlo fashion assuming a bipolar shape and analyzed using several methods, including the conventional bank of comparators. For example, one method recorded the peak energy of the pulse along with the width (temporal extent) of the pulse. The Cramer-Rao lower bound of the variance of basis material estimates was numerically found for each method. At high count rates, the variance in water material (bone canceled) measurements could be reduced by as much as an order of magnitude. Improvements in virtual monoenergetic images were modest. We conclude that stochastic noise in spectral imaging tasks could be reduced if alternative methods for pulse detection were utilized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number023505
JournalJournal of Medical Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • comparators
  • photon-counting detectors
  • pulse pileup
  • spectral imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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