Proposal of a quality-index or metric for soft copy display systems: Contrast sensitivity study

Jihong Wang, Ken Compton, Qi Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In addition to the inherent qualities of a digital image, the qualities of the monitor and graphics control card as well as the viewing conditions will affect the perceived quality of an image that is displayed on a soft copy display (SD) system. With the implementation of picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), many diagnoses are being made based on images displayed on SD devices, and consequently SD quality may affect the accuracy of diagnosis. Unlike the traditional film-on-lightbox display, optimal SD system parameters are not well defined, and many issues remain unsettled. In this article, the human observer performance, as measured by contrast sensitivity, for several SD devices including an active matrix liquid crystal flat panel monitor is reported. Contrast sensitivities were measured with various display system configurations. Experimental results showed that contrast sensitivity depends on many factors such as the type of monitor, the monitor brightness, and the gamma settings of the graphics card in a complex manner. However, there is a clear correlation between the measured contrast thresholds and the gradient of the display device's luminance response curve. Based on this correlation, it is proposed to use the gradient of luminance response curve as a quality-index or metric for SD devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-202
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Digital Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Display quality index
  • Gradient of luminance response curve
  • Human observer performance
  • Soft copy display

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Computer Science Applications


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