Impact of bowtie filter and detector collimation on multislice CT scatter profiles: A simulation study

Ruirui Liu, Shuangyue Zhang, Tianyu Zhao, Joseph A. O'Sullivan, Jeffrey F. Williamson, Tyler Webb, Mariela Porras-Chaverri, Bruce Whiting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate via Monte Carlo simulations, the impact of scan subject size, antiscatter grid (ASG), collimator size, and bowtie filter on the distribution of scatter radiation in a typical realistically modeled third generation 16 slice diagnostic computed tomography (CT) scanner. Methods: Full radiation transport was simulated with Geant4 in a realistic CT scanner geometric model, including the imaging phantom, bowtie filter (BTF), collimators and detector assembly, except for the ASGs. An analytical method was employed to quantify the probable transmission through the ASG of each photon intersecting the detector array. Normalized scatter profiles (NSP) and scatter-to-primary-ratio (SPR) profiles were simulated for 90 and 140 kVp beams for different size phantoms and slice thicknesses. The impact of CT scatter on the reconstructed attenuation coefficient factor was also studied as were the modulating effects of phantom- and patient-tissue heterogeneities on scatter profiles. A method to characterize the relative spatial frequency content of sinogram signals was developed to assess the latter. Results: For the 21.4-cm diameter phantom, NSP and SPR increase linearly with collimator opening for both tube potentials, with the 90 kVp scan exhibiting slightly larger NSP and SPR. The BTF modestly modulates scatter under the phantom center, reducing the prominent off-axis lobes by factors of 1.1–1.3. The ASG reduces scatter on the central axis NSP threefold, and reduces scatter at the detectors outside the phantom shadow by factors of 25 to 500. For the phantoms with diameters of 27 and 32 cm, the scatter increases roughly three- and fourfold, respectively, demonstrating that scatter monotonically increases with phantom size, despite deployment of the ASG and BTF. In the absence of a scan subject, the ASG reduces the signal profile arising photons scattered by the BTF. Without ASG, the in-air scatter profile is relatively flat compared to the scatter profile when the ASG is present. For both 90 and 140 kVp photon spectra, the calculated attenuation coefficient decreases linearly with increasing collimation size. For both homogeneous and heterogeneous objects, NSPs are dominated by low spatial frequency content compared to the primary signal. However, the SPR, which quantifies the local magnitude of nonlinear detector response and is dominated by the high frequency content of the primary profile, can contribute strongly to high-spatial frequency streaking artifacts near high-density structures in reconstructed image artifacts. Conclusion: Public-domain Monte Carlo codes, Geant-4 in particular, is a feasible method for characterizing CT detector response to scattered- and off-focal radiation. Our study demonstrates that the ASG substantially reduces the scatter radiation and reshapes scatter-radiation profiles and affects the accuracy with which the detector array can measure narrow-beam attenuation due its inability to distinguish between true uncollided primary and narrow-angle coherently scattered photons. Hence, incorporating the impact of detector array collimation into the forward-projection signal formation models used by iterative reconstruction algorithms is necessary to use CT for accurately characterizing material properties. While tissue heterogeneities exercise a modest influence on local NPS shape and magnitude, they do not add significant high spatial frequency content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-870
Number of pages19
JournalMedical physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Geant4
  • Monte Carlo
  • hybrid simulation method
  • multislice CT
  • scatter radiation
  • scatter to primary ratio


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