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A novel beam filter consisting of multiple aperture devices (MADs) has been developed for dynamic fluence field modulation (FFM) in CT. Each MAD achieves spatial modulation of x-ray through fine-scale, highly attenuating tungsten bars of varying widths and spacings. Moir\'e patterns produced by relative motions between two MADs provide versatile classes of modulation profiles. The dual-MAD filter can be designed to achieve specific classes of target profiles. The designed filter was manufactured through a laser-sintering process and integrated to an experimental imaging system that enables linear actuation of the MADs. Dynamic FFM was achieved through a combination of beam shape modulation (by relative MAD motion) and amplitude modulation (by view-dependent mAs). To correct for gains associated with the MADs, we developed an algorithm to account for possible focal spot changes during/between scans and spectral effects introduced by the MADs. We performed FFM designs for phantoms following two imaging objectives: 1) to achieve minimum mean variance in filtered backprojection (FBP) reconstruction, and 2) to flatten the fluence behind the phantom. Comparisons with conventional FFM strategies involving a static bowtie and pulse width modulation were performed. The dual-MAD filter produced modulation profiles closely matched with the design target, providing varying beam widths not achievable by the static bowtie. The entire range of modulation profiles was achieved by 0.373~mm of MAD displacement. The correction algorithm effectively alleviated ring artifacts as a result of MADs while preserving phantom details such as wires and tissue boundaries. Dynamic FFM enabled by the MADs were effective in achieving the imaging objectives and demonstrated superior FFM capabilities compared to the static bowtie. In an ellipse phantom, the FFM of objective 1 achieved the lowest mean variance in all cases investigated. The FFM of objective 2 produce nearly isotropic local noise power spectrum and homogeneous noise magnitude. The dual-MAD filter provides an effective tool for fluence control in CT to overcome limitations of conventional static bowties and to further enable patient-specific FFM studies for a wide range of dose and image quality objectives.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Physics in medicine and biology
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