Technical note: Evaluation of artificial 120-kilovolt computed tomography images for radiation therapy applications

Shengzhen Tao, Hao Gong, Gregory Michalak, Cynthia McCollough, Shuai Leng, Yanle Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this work is to evaluate the scaled computed tomography (CT) number accuracy of an artificial 120 kV reconstruction technique based on phantom experiments in the context of radiation therapy planning. Methods: An abdomen-shaped electron density phantom was scanned on a clinical CT scanner capable of artificial 120 kV reconstruction using different tube potentials from 70 to 150 kV. A series of tissue-equivalent phantom inserts (lung, adipose, breast, solid water, liver, inner bone, 30%/50% CaCO3, cortical bone) were placed inside the phantom. Images were reconstructed using a conventional quantitative reconstruction kernel as well as the artificial 120 kV reconstruction kernel. Scaled CT numbers of inserts were measured from images acquired at different kVs and compared with those acquired at 120 kV, which were deemed as the ground truth. The relative error was quantified as the percentage deviation of scaled CT numbers acquired at different tube potentials from their ground truth values acquired at 120 kV. Results: Scaled CT numbers measured from images reconstructed using the conventional reconstruction demonstrated a strong kV-dependence. The relative error in scaled CT numbers ranged from 0.6% (liver insert) to 31.1% (cortical bone insert). The artificial 120 kV reconstruction reduced the kV dependence, especially for bone tissues. The relative error in scaled CT number was reduced to 0.4% (liver insert) and 2.6% (30% CaCO3 insert) using this technique. When tube potential selection was limited to the range of 90 to 150 kV, the relative error was further restrained to <1.2% for all tissue types. Conclusion: Phantom results demonstrated that using the artificial 120 kV technique, it was feasible to acquire raw projection data at the desired tube potential and then reconstruct images with scaled CT numbers comparable to those obtained directly at 120 kV. In radiotherapy applications, this technique may allow optimization of tube potential without complicating clinical workflow by eliminating the necessity of maintaining multiple sets of CT calibration curves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3683-3691
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • CT
  • radiation therapy
  • treatment planning
  • tube potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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