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Siemens and CEA-Leti partner on photon counting CT detector module

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 08, 2020
CT X-Ray

Researchers at Mayo Clinic in the U.S. have applied the Siemens Healthineers’ PCDM to phantoms, cadavers, animals and humans, and produced images of more than 300 patients that, they say, consistently show the theoretical benefits the technology has to offer clinically.

“Publications by our research team have shown improved spatial resolution, decreased radiation or iodine contrast dose requirements, and decreased levels of image noise and artifacts," said Cynthia McCollough, professor of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the Mayo Clinic, in a statement. "Additionally, the ability to simultaneously acquire multiple 150-micron-resolution datasets, each representing a different energy spectrum, is anticipated to lead to new clinical applications."

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CEA-Leti is focusing its efforts on improving the efficiency of the PCDMs by taking part in the development of a CdTe-based energy resolved PCDM for the detection of individual X-ray photons with two energy threshold counters.

"Despite these very encouraging results, the spectral quality of the PCDMs’ response is far from optimum and there are still technical challenges to overcome, such as charge sharing, charge induction and pile-up," said Verger. "Solving these issues will be the next step for a new generation of PCDM-based CT."

To do this, the company has developed a corrected photon counting detector (CPCD) that features a "real time cleaned spectrum" inside the pixel before digitizing the signal. It is based on the hybridization of a CdTe layer with a new CMOS Read-Out Integrated Circuit in which each pixel integrates on-chip charge sharing correction, charge induction and pile-up rejection together with an interface memory in order to relax the off-chip post-processing constraints.

"The next challenge will be to design a new chip featuring 25 Mcps/pixel Output Count Rate and a low power consumption (few mW/pixel) with a pixel pitch of 0.5mm including all correction," said Verger. "The resulting CPCD should be able to measure the required flux of 2.108 count per second/mm² for an optimal response of the medical PCDM-based CT."

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