SparseCT: System concept and design of multislit collimators

Baiyu Chen, Erich Kobler, Matthew J. Muckley, Aaron D. Sodickson, Thomas O'Donnell, Thomas Flohr, Bernhard Schmidt, Daniel K. Sodickson, Ricardo Otazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: SparseCT, an undersampling scheme for compressed sensing (CS) computed tomography (CT), has been proposed to reduce radiation dose by acquiring undersampled projection data from clinical CT scanners (Koesters et al. in, SparseCT: Interrupted-Beam Acquisition and Sparse Reconstruction for Radiation Dose Reduction; 2017). SparseCT partially blocks the x-ray beam with a multislit collimator (MSC) to perform a multidimensional undersampling along the view and detector row dimensions. SparseCT undersamples the projection data within each view and moves the MSC along the z-direction during gantry rotation to change the undersampling pattern. It enables reconstruction of images from undersampled data using CS algorithms. The purpose of this work is to design the spacing and width of the MSC slits and the MSC motion patterns based on beam separation, undersampling efficiency, and image quality. The development and testing of a SparseCT prototype with the designed MSC will be described in a following paper. Methods: We chose a few initial MSC designs based on the guidance from two metrics: beam separation and undersampling efficiency. Both beam separation and undersampling efficiency were measured from numerically simulated photon distribution with MSC taken into consideration. Beam separation measures the separation between x-ray beams from consecutive slits, taking into account penumbra effects on both sides of each slit. Undersampling efficiency measures the dose-weighted similarity between penumbra undersampling and binary undersampling, in other words, the effective contribution of the incident dose to the signal to noise ratio of the projection data. We then compared the initially chosen MSC designs in terms of their reconstruction image quality. SparseCT projections were simulated from fully sampled patient projection data according to the MSC design and motion pattern, reconstructed iteratively using a sparsity-enforcing penalized weighted least squares cost function with ordered subsets/momentum algorithm, and compared visually and quantitatively. Results: Simulated photon distributions indicate that the size of the penumbra is dominated by the size of the focal spot. Therefore, a wider MSC slit and a smaller focal spot lead to increased beam separation and undersampling efficiency. For fourfold undersampling with a 1.2 mm focal spot, a minimum MSC slit width of three detector rows (projected to the detector surface) is needed for beam separation; for threefold undersampling, a minimum slit width of four detector rows is needed. Simulations of SparseCT projection and reconstruction indicate that the motion pattern of the MSC does not have a visible impact on image quality. An MSC slit width of three or four detector rows yields similar image quality. Conclusion: The MSC is the key component of the SparseCT method. Simulations of MSC designs incorporating x-ray beam penumbra effects showed that for threefold and fourfold dose reductions, an MSC slit width of four detector rows provided reasonable beam separation, undersampling efficiency, and image quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2589-2599
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • CT
  • SparseCT
  • Undersampling
  • compressed sensing
  • multislit collimator (MSC)
  • penumbra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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