Purpose: A tetrahedron beam (TB) X-ray system with a linear X-ray source array and a linear detector array positioned orthogonal to each other may overcome the X-ray scattering problem of traditional cone-beam X-ray systems. We developed a TB imaging benchtop system using a linear array X-ray source to demonstrate the principle and benefits of TB imaging. Methods: A multi-pixel thermionic emission X-ray (MPTEX) source with 48 focal spots in 4-mm spacing was developed in-house. The X-ray beams are collimated to a stack of fan beams that are converged to a 6-mm wide multi-row photon-counting detector (PCD). The data collected with a sequential scan of the sources at a fixed view angle were synthesized to a 2D radiography image by a shift-and-add algorithm. The data collected with a full rotation of the system were reconstructed into 3D TB CT (TBCT) images using an Feldkamp, Davis, and Kress (FDK)-based computed tomography (CT) algorithm modified for the TB geometry. Results: With an 18.8-cm long source array and a 35-cm long detector array, the TB benchtop system provides a 25-cm cross-sectional and 8-cm axial field of view (FOV). The scatter-to-primary ratio (SPR) was approximately 17% for TB, as compared with 120% for cone beam geometry. The TBCT system enables reconstructions in two-dimensional radiography and three-dimensional volumetric CT. The TBCT images were free of “cupping” artifacts and have similar image quality as diagnostic helical CT. Conclusions: A TB imaging benchtop imaging system was successfully developed with MPTEX source and PCD. Phantom and animal cadaver imaging demonstrated that the TB system can produce satisfactory radiographic X-ray images and 3D CT images with image quality comparable to diagnostic helical CTs.
- multi-pixel thermionic emission X-ray source
- photon-counting detector
- scatter-to-primary ratio
- tetrahedron beam