X-ray scintillator lens-coupled with CMOS camera for pre-clinical cardiac vascular imaging—A feasibility study
We present the design and characterization of an X-ray imaging system consisting of an off-the-shelf CMOS sensor optically coupled to a CsI scintillator. The camera can perform both high-resolution and functional cardiac imaging. High-resolution 3D imaging requires microfocus X-ray tubes and expensive detectors, while pre-clinical functional cardiac imaging requires high flux pulsed (clinical) X-ray tubes and high-end cameras. Our work describes an X-ray camera, namely an "optically coupled
... y(OCX) detector," used for both the aforementioned applications with no change in the specifications. We constructed the imaging detector with two different CMOS optical imaging cameras called CMOS sensors, 1.A monochrome CMOS sensor coupled with an f1.4 lens and 2.an RGB CMOS sensor coupled with an f0.95 prime lens. The imaging system consisted of our X-ray camera, micro-focus X-ray source (50kVp and 1mA), and a rotary stage controlled from a personal computer (PC) and LabVIEW interface. The detective quantum efficiency (DQE) of the imaging system(monochrome) estimated using a cascaded linear model was 17% at 10 lp/mm. The system modulation transfer function (MTF) and the noise power spectrum (NPS) were inputs to the DQE estimation. Because of the RGB camera's low quantum efficiency (QE), the OCX detector DQE was 19% at 5 lp/mm. The contrast to noise ratio (CNR) at different frame rates was studied using the capillary tubes filled with various dilutions of iodinated contrast agents. In-vivo cardiac angiography demonstrated that blood vessels of the order of 100 microns or above were visible at 40 frames per second despite the low X-ray flux. For high-resolution 3D imaging, the system was characterized by imaging a cylindrical micro-CT contrast phantom and comparing it against images from a commercial scanner.