Development of a high-speed CT imaging system using an EMCCD camera

Samta C. Thacker, Kai Yang, Nathan Packard, Valeriy Gaysinskiy, George Burkett, Stuart Miller, John M Boone, Vivek Nagarkar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


The limitations of current CCD-based microCT X-ray imaging systems arise from two important factors. First, readout speeds are curtailed in order to minimize system read noise, which increases significantly with increasing readout rates. Second, the afterglow associated with commercial scintillator films can introduce image lag, leading to substantial artifacts in reconstructed images, especially when the detector is operated at several hundred frames/second (fps). For high speed imaging systems, high-speed readout electronics and fast scintillator films are required. This paper presents an approach to developing a high-speed CT detector based on a novel, back-thinned electron-multiplying CCD (EMCCD) coupled to various bright, high resolution, low afterglow films. The EMCCD camera, when operated in its binned mode, is capable of acquiring data at up to 300 fps with reduced imaging area. CsI:T1,Eu and ZnSe:Te films, recently fabricated at RMD, apart from being bright, showed very good afterglow properties, favorable for high-speed imaging. Since ZnSe:Te films were brighter than CsI:T1,Eu films, for preliminary experiments a ZnSe:Te film was coupled to an EMCCD camera at UC Davis Medical Center. A high-throughput tungsten anode X-ray generator was used, as the X-ray fluence from a mini- or micro-focus source would be insufficient to achieve high-speed imaging. A euthanized mouse held in a glass tube was rotated 360 degrees in less than 3 seconds, while radiographic images were recorded at various readout rates (up to 300 fps); images were reconstructed using a conventional Feldkamp cone-beam reconstruction algorithm. We have found that this system allows volumetric CT imaging of small animals in approximately two seconds at ~110 to 190 μm resolution, compared to several minutes at 160 μm resolution needed for the best current systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
StatePublished - 2009
EventMedical Imaging 2009: Physics of Medical Imaging - Lake Buena Vista, FL, United States
Duration: Feb 9 2009Feb 12 2009


OtherMedical Imaging 2009: Physics of Medical Imaging
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLake Buena Vista, FL


  • CT
  • Detector
  • Image Reconstruction
  • Spatial Resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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