Seeing More with Less: Clinical Benefits of Photon-counting Detector CT

Avinash K. Nehra, Kkishore Rajendran, Francis I. Baffour, Achille Mileto, Prabhakar Shantha Rajiah, Kelly K. Horst, Akitoshi Inoue, Tucker F. Johnson, Felix E. Diehn, Katrina N. Glazebrook, Jamison E. Thorne, Nikkole M. Weber, Elisabeth R. Shanblatt, Hao Gong, Lifeng Yu, Shuai Leng, Cynthia H. McCollough, Joel G. Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photon-counting detector (PCD) CT is an emerging technology that has led to continued innovation and progress in diagnostic imaging after it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clinical use in September 2021. Conventional energy-integrating detector (EID) CT measures the total energy of x-rays by converting photons to visible light and subsequently using photodiodes to convert visible light to digital signals. In comparison, PCD CT directly records x-ray photons as electric signals, without intermediate conversion to visible light. The benefits of PCD CT systems include improved spatial resolution due to smaller detector pixels, higher iodine image contrast, increased geometric dose efficiency to allow high-resolution imaging, reduced radiation dose for all body parts, multienergy imaging capabilities, and reduced artifacts. To recognize these benefits, diagnostic applications of PCD CT in musculoskeletal, thoracic, neuroradiologic, cardiovascular, and abdominal imaging must be optimized and adapted for specific diagnostic tasks. The diagnostic benefits and clinical applications resulting from PCD CT in early studies have allowed improved visualization of key anatomic structures and radiologist confidence for some diagnostic tasks, which will continue as PCD CT evolves and clinical use and applications grow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere220158
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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