A spatio-temporal detective quantum efficiency and its application to fluoroscopic systems

S. N. Friedman, I. A. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Fluoroscopic x-ray imaging systems are used extensively in spatio-temporal detection tasks and require a spatio-temporal description of system performance. No accepted metric exists that describes spatio-temporal fluoroscopic performance. The detective quantum efficiency (DQE) is a metric widely used in radiography to quantify system performance and as a surrogate measure of patient "dose efficiency." It has been applied previously to fluoroscopic systems with the introduction of a temporal correction factor. However, the use of a temporally-corrected DQE does not provide system temporal information and it is only valid under specific conditions, many of which are not likely to be satisfied by suboptimal systems. The authors propose a spatio-temporal DQE that describes performance in both space and time and is applicable to all spatio-temporal quantum-based imaging systems. Methods: The authors define a spatio-temporal DQE (two spatial-frequency axes and one temporal-frequency axis) in terms of a small-signal spatio-temporal modulation transfer function (MTF) and spatio-temporal noise power spectrum (NPS). Measurements were made on an x-ray image intensifier-based bench-top system using continuous fluoroscopy with an RQA-5 beam at 3.9 μR /frame and hardened 50 kVp beam (0.8 mm Cu filtration added) at 1.9 μR /frame. Results: A zero-frequency DQE value of 0.64 was measured under both conditions. Nonideal performance was noted at both larger spatial and temporal frequencies; DQE values decreased by ∼50% at the cutoff temporal frequency of 15 Hz. Conclusions: The spatio-temporal DQE enables measurements of decreased temporal system performance at larger temporal frequencies analogous to previous measurements of decreased (spatial) performance. This marks the first time that system performance and dose efficiency in both space and time have been measured on a fluoroscopic system using DQE and is the first step toward the generalized use of DQE on clinical fluoroscopic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6061-6069
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • DQE
  • MTF
  • NPS
  • detective quantum efficiency
  • dose efficiency
  • fluoroscopy
  • lag
  • modulation transfer function
  • noise power spectrum
  • performance
  • small signal
  • spatio-temporal
  • spatiotemporal
  • temporal MTF
  • x-ray imaging


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