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Xu X.,William Beaumont Hospital | Kim J.,William Beaumont Hospital | Kim J.,Oakland University | Laganis P.,Xinray Systems, Inc. | And 4 more authors.
Medical Physics

Purpose: To demonstrate the feasibility of Tetrahedron Beam Computed Tomography (TBCT) using a carbon nanotube (CNT) multiple pixel field emission x-ray (MPFEX) tube. Methods: A multiple pixel x-ray source facilitates the creation of novel x-ray imaging modalities. In a previous publication, the authors proposed a Tetrahedron Beam Computed Tomography (TBCT) imaging system which comprises a linear source array and a linear detector array that are orthogonal to each other. TBCT is expected to reduce scatter compared with Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and to have better detector performance. Therefore, it may produce improved image quality for image guided radiotherapy. In this study, a TBCT benchtop system has been developed with an MPFEX tube. The tube has 75 CNT cold cathodes, which generate 75 x-ray focal spots on an elongated anode, and has 4 mm pixel spacing. An in-house-developed, 5-row CT detector array using silicon photodiodes and CdWO 4 scintillators was employed in the system. Hardware and software were developed for tube control and detector data acquisition. The raw data were preprocessed for beam hardening and detector response linearity and were reconstructed with an FDK-based image reconstruction algorithm. Results: The focal spots were measured at about 1 × 2 mm 2 using a star phantom. Each cathode generates around 3 mA cathode current with 2190 V gate voltage. The benchtop system is able to perform TBCT scans with a prolonged scanning time. Images of a commercial CT phantom were successfully acquired. Conclusions: A prototype system was developed, and preliminary phantom images were successfully acquired. MPFEX is a promising x-ray source for TBCT. Further improvement of tube output is needed in order for it to be used in clinical TBCT systems. © 2011 American Association of Physicists in Medicine. Source

Gidcumb E.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Gao B.,Xintek, Inc. | Gao B.,Xinray Systems, Inc. | Shan J.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | And 3 more authors.

For imaging human breast cancer, digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) has been shown to improve image quality and breast cancer detection in comparison to two-dimensional (2D) mammography. Current DBT systems have limited spatial resolution and lengthy scan times. Stationary DBT (s-DBT), utilizing an array of carbon nanotube (CNT) field emission x-ray sources, provides increased spatial resolution and potentially faster imaging than current DBT systems. This study presents the results of detailed evaluations of CNT cathodes for x-ray breast imaging tasks. The following were investigated: high current, long-term stability of CNT cathodes for DBT; feasibility of using CNT cathodes to perform a 2D radiograph function; and cathode performance through several years of imaging. Results show that a breast tomosynthesis system using CNT cathodes could run far beyond the experimentally tested lifetime of one to two years. CNT cathodes were found capable of producing higher currents than typical DBT would require, indicating that the s-DBT imaging time can be further reduced. The feasibility of using a single cathode of the s-DBT tube to perform 2D mammography in 4 s was demonstrated. Over the lifetime of the prototype s-DBT system, it was found that both cathode performance and transmission rate were stable and consistent. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd. Source

Qian X.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Tucker A.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Gidcumb E.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Shan J.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | And 14 more authors.
Medical Physics

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility of increasing the system spatial resolution and scanning speed of Hologic Selenia Dimensions digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) scanner by replacing the rotating mammography x-ray tube with a specially designed carbon nanotube (CNT) x-ray source array, which generates all the projection images needed for tomosynthesis reconstruction by electronically activating individual x-ray sources without any mechanical motion. The stationary digital breast tomosynthesis (s-DBT) design aims to (i) increase the system spatial resolution by eliminating image blurring due to x-ray tube motion and (ii) reduce the scanning time. Low spatial resolution and long scanning time are the two main technical limitations of current DBT technology. Methods: A CNT x-ray source array was designed and evaluated against a set of targeted system performance parameters. Simulations were performed to determine the maximum anode heat load at the desired focal spot size and to design the electron focusing optics. Field emission current from CNT cathode was measured for an extended period of time to determine the stable life time of CNT cathode for an expected clinical operation scenario. The source array was manufactured, tested, and integrated with a Selenia scanner. An electronic control unit was developed to interface the source array with the detection system and to scan and regulate x-ray beams. The performance of the s-DBT system was evaluated using physical phantoms. Results: The spatially distributed CNT x-ray source array comprised 31 individually addressable x-ray sources covering a 30 angular span with 1 pitch and an isotropic focal spot size of 0.6 mm at full width at half-maximum. Stable operation at 28 kV(peak) anode voltage and 38 mA tube current was demonstrated with extended lifetime and good source-to-source consistency. For the standard imaging protocol of 15 views over 14, 100 mAs dose, and 2 × 2 detector binning, the projection resolution along the scanning direction increased from 4.0 cycles/mm at 10 modulation-transfer-function (MTF) in DBT to 5.1 cycles/mm in s-DBT at magnification factor of 1.08. The improvement is more pronounced for faster scanning speeds, wider angular coverage, and smaller detector pixel sizes. The scanning speed depends on the detector, the number of views, and the imaging dose. With 240 ms detector readout time, the s-DBT system scanning time is 6.3 s for a 15-view, 100 mAs scan regardless of the angular coverage. The scanning speed can be reduced to less than 4 s when detectors become faster. Initial phantom studies showed good quality reconstructed images. Conclusions: A prototype s-DBT scanner has been developed and evaluated by retrofitting the Selenia rotating gantry DBT scanner with a spatially distributed CNT x-ray source array. Preliminary results show that it improves system spatial resolution substantially by eliminating image blur due to x-ray focal spot motion. The scanner speed of s-DBT system is independent of angular coverage and can be increased with faster detector without image degration. The accelerated lifetime measurement demonstrated the long term stability of CNT x-ray source array with typical clinical operation lifetime over 3 years. © 2012 American Association of Physicists in Medicine. Source

Hadsell M.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Zhang J.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Laganis P.,Xinray Systems, Inc. | Sprenger F.,Xinray Systems, Inc. | And 7 more authors.
Applied Physics Letters

We have developed a compact microbeam radiation therapy device using carbon nanotube cathodes to create a linear array of narrow focal line segments on a tungsten anode and a custom collimator assembly to select a slice of the resulting wedge-shaped radiation pattern. Effective focal line width was measured to be 131 μm, resulting in a microbeam width of ∼300 μm. The instantaneous dose rate was projected to be 2 Gy/s at full-power. Peak to valley dose ratio was measured to be >17 when a 1.4 mm microbeam separation was employed. Finally, multiple microbeams were delivered to a mouse with beam paths verified through histology. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC. Source

Sprenger F.,Xinray Systems, Inc. | Calderon X.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Gidcumb E.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Lu J.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | And 5 more authors.
Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE

Tomosynthesis requires projection images from different viewing angles. Using a distributed x-ray source this can be achieved without mechanical motion of the source with the potential for faster image acquisition speed. A distributed xray tube has been designed and manufactured specifically for breast tomosynthesis. The x-ray tube consists of 31 field emission x-ray sources with an angular range of 30°. The total dose is up to 100mAs with an energy range between 27 and 45 kVp. We discuss the source geometry and results from the characterization of the first prototype. The x-ray tube uses field emission cathodes based on carbon nanotubes (CNT) as electron source. Prior to the manufacturing of the sealed x-ray tube extensive testing on the field emission cathodes has been performed to verify the requirements for commercial tomosynthesis systems in terms of emission current, focal spot size and tube lifetime. © 2011 SPIE. Source

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