A tetrahedron beam computed tomography benchtop system with a multiple pixel field emission x-ray tube

Xiaochao Xu, Joshua Kim, Philip Laganis, Derek Schulze, Yongguang Liang, Tiezhi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose: To demonstrate the feasibility of Tetrahedron Beam Computed Tomography (TBCT) using a carbon nanotube (CNT) multiple pixel field emission x-ray (MPFEX) tube. Methods: A multiple pixel x-ray source facilitates the creation of novel x-ray imaging modalities. In a previous publication, the authors proposed a Tetrahedron Beam Computed Tomography (TBCT) imaging system which comprises a linear source array and a linear detector array that are orthogonal to each other. TBCT is expected to reduce scatter compared with Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and to have better detector performance. Therefore, it may produce improved image quality for image guided radiotherapy. In this study, a TBCT benchtop system has been developed with an MPFEX tube. The tube has 75 CNT cold cathodes, which generate 75 x-ray focal spots on an elongated anode, and has 4 mm pixel spacing. An in-house-developed, 5-row CT detector array using silicon photodiodes and CdWO4 scintillators was employed in the system. Hardware and software were developed for tube control and detector data acquisition. The raw data were preprocessed for beam hardening and detector response linearity and were reconstructed with an FDK-based image reconstruction algorithm. Results: The focal spots were measured at about 1 × 2 mm2 using a star phantom. Each cathode generates around 3 mA cathode current with 2190 V gate voltage. The benchtop system is able to perform TBCT scans with a prolonged scanning time. Images of a commercial CT phantom were successfully acquired. Conclusions: A prototype system was developed, and preliminary phantom images were successfully acquired. MPFEX is a promising x-ray source for TBCT. Further improvement of tube output is needed in order for it to be used in clinical TBCT systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5500-5508
Number of pages9
JournalMedical physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • CBCT
  • IGRT
  • multiple pixel field emission x-ray
  • tetrahedron beam computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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