A Monte Carlo study of x-ray fluorescence in x-ray detectors

John M Boone, J Anthony Seibert, John M. Sabol, Melvin Tecotzky

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43 Scopus citations


Advances in digital x-ray detector systems have led to a renewed interest in the performance of x-ray phosphors and other detector materials. Indirect flat panel x-ray detector and charged coupled device (CCD) systems require a more technologically challenging geometry, whereby the x-ray beam is incident on the front side of the scintillator, and the light produced must diffuse to the back surface of the screen to reach the photoreceptor. Direct detector systems based on selenium have also enjoyed a growing interest, both commercially and academically. Monte Carlo simulation techniques were used to study the x-ray scattering (Rayleigh and Compton) and the more prevalent x-ray fluorescence properties of seven different x-ray detector materials, Gd2O2S, CsI, Se, BaFBr, YTaO4, CaWO4, and ThO2. The redistribution of x-ray energy, back towards the x-ray source, in a forward direction through the detector, and lateral reabsorption in the detector was computed under monoenergetic conditions (1 keV to 130 keV by 1 keV intervals) with five detector thicknesses, 30, 60, 90, 120, and 150 mg/cm2 (Se was studied from 30 to 1000 mg/cm2). The radial distribution (related to the point spread function) of reabsorbed x-ray energy was also determined. Representative results are as follows: At 55 keV, more (31.3%) of the incident x-ray energy escaped from a 90 mg/cm2Gd2O2S detector than was absorbed (27.9%). Approximately 1% of the total absorbed energy was reabsorbed greater than 0.5 mm from the primary interaction, for 90 mg/cm2 CsI exposed at 100 kVp. The ratio of reabsorbed secondary (fluorescence+scatter) radiation to the primary radiation absorbed in the detectors (90 mg/cm2) (S/P) was determined as 10%, 16%, 2%, 12%, 3%, 3%, and 0.3% for a 100 kVp tungsten anode x-ray spectrum, for the Gd2O2S, CsI, Se, BaFBr, YTaO4, CaWO4, and ThO2 detectors, respectively. The results indicate significant x-ray fluorescent escape and reabsorption in common x- ray detectors. These findings suggest that x-ray fluorescent radiation redistribution should be considered in the design of digital x-ray imaging systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-916
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Digital image detectors
  • Imaging science
  • K-edge
  • Monte Carlo
  • X-ray fluorescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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