(19)
(11)EP 3 323 003 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
09.09.2020 Bulletin 2020/37

(21)Application number: 16738878.4

(22)Date of filing:  04.07.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G01T 1/24(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/IB2016/054001
(87)International publication number:
WO 2017/009736 (19.01.2017 Gazette  2017/03)

(54)

HIGH ENERGY RESOLUTION / HIGH X-RAY FLUX PHOTON COUNTING DETECTOR

DETEKTOR FÜR PHOTONENZÄHLUNG MIT HOCHENERGETISCHER AUFLÖSUNG / HOHEM RÖNTGENFLUSS

DÉTECTEUR DE COMPTAGE DE PHOTONS À FLUX DE RAYONS X ÉLEVÉ / À HAUTE RÉSOLUTION D'ÉNERGIE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 13.07.2015 US 201562191547 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.05.2018 Bulletin 2018/21

(73)Proprietor: Koninklijke Philips N.V.
5656 AG Eindhoven (NL)

(72)Inventors:
  • BLEVIS, Ira Micah
    5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)
  • STEADMAN BOOKER, Roger
    5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)
  • HERRMANN, Christoph
    5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)

(74)Representative: Versteeg, Dennis John 
Philips Intellectual Property & Standards High Tech Campus 5
5656 AE Eindhoven
5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 2 589 986
WO-A2-2010/055457
US-A1- 2014 175 299
WO-A1-2013/003497
US-A1- 2009 080 601
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The following generally relates to a photon counting detector and more particularly to a photon counter detector that is configured for both high energy (spectral) resolution and high x-ray flux imaging examinations, and is described with particular application to computed tomography (CT); however, the following is also amenable to other imaging modalities.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] A computed tomography (CT) scanner includes a rotating gantry rotatably mounted to a stationary gantry. The rotating gantry supports an X-ray tube. A detector array is located opposite the X-ray tube, across an examination region. The rotating gantry and the X-ray tube rotate around the examination region about a longitudinal or z-axis. The X-ray tube is configured to emit poly-energetic ionizing radiation that traverses the examination region and illuminates the detector array. The detector array includes a one or two dimensional array of detector pixels that detect the radiation and that generate signals indicative thereof. Each pixel is associated with a readout channel, which is used to convey a corresponding signal for further processing. A reconstructor reconstructs the processed signals, producing volumetric image data.

    [0003] For spectral CT, the detector pixels have included a direct conversion photon counting detector pixel. Generally, a direct conversion photon counting detector pixel includes a direct conversion material disposed between a cathode and an anode, and a voltage is applied across the cathode and the anode. Photons illuminate the cathode, transferring energy to electrons in the direct conversion material, which creates electron/hole pairs, with the electrons drifting towards the anode. The anode, in response, produces an electrical signal. A pulse shaper processes the electrical signal and produces a pulse having peak amplitude indicative of the energy of the detected photon. A pulse discriminator compares the amplitude of the pulse with energy thresholds. For each threshold, a counter counts the number of pulses that cross the threshold. An energy-binner bins the counts in energy-ranges, thereby energy-resolving the photons. The reconstructor reconstructs the binned signals, producing energy specific volumetric image data.

    [0004] A direct conversion photon counting detector pixel, generally, can handle observed X-ray flux rates up to ten million counts per second (10 Mcps) per channel. The inherent poisson nature of the X-ray photons may result in overlapping pulses (i.e., pulse pile-up) as a next photon may arrive before the processing of a current photon is complete. The probability of pile-up increases with the mean poisson rate of the impinging X-ray photon flux. When pulses overlap, their amplitudes combine so that the individual pulses may not be discernable from the combination, and the peak energy of a pulse is shifted by the amplitude contribution of the overlapping pulse such that the energy distribution of the detected photons may be erroneous, thereby reducing image quality. In conventional non-spectral CT, the X-ray flux rate can be on the order of hundreds of Mcps per channel and thus direct conversion photon counting detector pixels are not well-suited for conventional non-spectral CT applications.

    [0005] An approach to reduce the X-ray flux for direct conversion photon counting detector array has been to reduce the physical size of the detector pixels. Smaller pixels reduce the rate requirements of the readout electronics and increase the rate capability per unit area (i.e. Mcps/mm2 geometrically increases for a given electronics performance and smaller pixels). Unfortunately, reducing the physical size of the pixels degrades the energy resolution due to charge sharing and k-escape events to neighboring pixels. From the literature, in one configuration, a smaller pixel size is fixed at assembly and a "virtual" larger pixel size is dynamically created by combining the outputs after the pulse shaper of non-saturated smaller pixels. This configuration has included additional arbitration circuitry that determines which, if any, pixels are saturated, discards signals from saturated pixels, and combines the outputs of non-saturated pixels through a truth table and/or a switching network. Unfortunately, the additional arbitration circuitry consumes space, introduces circuit complexity, reduced count rate capability and adds to the overall cost of the detector.

    [0006] US 2014/0175299 A1 discloses a counting digital x-ray detector for recording x-ray images of an object irradiated by x-ray radiation including a direct x-ray converter for converting x-ray radiation into an electric signal and a matrix with a plurality of counting pixel elements. At least one part of the counting pixel elements has a signal input and two circuits for converting the signal into a count signal. A first circuit of the two circuits is configured to convert the signal entering the respective pixel element directly into a count signal and to count the count signal. A second circuit of the two circuits is configured to convert the signal entering directly into the respective pixel element together with coincident occurring signals of at least one neighboring pixel element into a count signal and to count the count signal. The first circuit and/or the second circuit are able to be activated individually and both together.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0007] Aspects described herein addresses the above-referenced problems and others.

    [0008] In one aspect, an imaging system includes a detector module. The detector module includes a block of a plurality of direct conversion photon counting detector pixels and corresponding electronics with hardware for both high energy resolution imaging mode and high X-ray flux imaging mode connected with the block of the plurality of direct conversion photon counting detector pixels. The hardware comprises a first shaper configured to operate at a first speed; a plurality of second shapers configured to operate at a second speed, wherein the first speed is higher than the second speed; and a controller configured to configure the detector module for one of high energy resolution imaging or high X-ray flux imaging.

    [0009] In another aspect, a method includes identifying a scanning mode for a selected imaging protocol, wherein the scanning modes includes one of a higher energy resolution mode and a higher X-ray flux mode, configuring a detector module, which is configurable for both the higher energy resolution mode and the higher X-ray flux mode, based on the identified scanning mode, performing the scan with the detector module configured for the mode of the selected imaging protocol, and processing scan data from the scan, generating volumetric image data by processing output signals from a plurality of detector pixels with a first shaper operating at a first speed in response to configuring the detector module for the higher energy resolution mode; and processing the output signals from the plurality of detector pixels respectively with different shapers operating at a second speed in response to configuring the detector module for the higher energy resolution mode, wherein the first speed is slower than the second speed.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0010] The invention may take form in various components and arrangements of components, and in various steps and arrangements of steps. The drawings are only for purposes of illustrating the preferred embodiments and are not to be construed as limiting the invention.

    FIGURE 1 schematically illustrates an example imaging system with a direct conversion photon counting detector.

    FIGURE 2 schematically illustrates an example sub-portion of the direct conversion photon counting detector.

    FIGURE 3 schematically illustrates example electronics of the direct conversion photon counting detector of an embodiment in the current invention.

    FIGURE 4 illustrates example electrodes of the electronics of an embodiment in the current invention.

    FIGURE 5 illustrates an example of the electrodes in connection with direct conversion photon counting detector pixel pads of figure 4.

    FIGURE 6 schematically illustrates another example of electronics of the direct conversion photon counting detector.

    FIGURE 7 schematically illustrates a variation of FIGURE 6.

    FIGURE 8 schematically illustrates another example of electronics of the direct conversion photon counting detector.

    FIGURE 9 illustrates an example method in accordance with an embodiment described herein.

    FIGURE 10 illustrates another example method in accordance with an embodiment described herein.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



    [0011] Initially referring to FIGURE 1, an imaging system 100 such as a computed tomography (CT) scanner is schematically illustrated. The imaging system 100 includes a stationary gantry 102 and a rotating gantry 104, which is rotatably supported by the stationary gantry 102. The rotating gantry 104 rotates around an examination region 106 about a longitudinal or z-axis. A subject support 108, such as a couch, supports an object or subject in the examination region 106. The imaging system 100 includes a radiation source 110, such as an X-ray tube, which is supported by and rotates with the rotating gantry 104 around the examination region 106 about the longitudinal or z-axis 108. The radiation source 110 emits ionizing (x-ray) radiation that traverses the examination region 106 and a portion of a subject or an object located therein.

    [0012] The imaging system 100 includes a detector array 112 that subtends an angular arc opposite the examination region 106 relative to the radiation source 110. The detector array 112 includes a one or two dimensional array of photon counting detector modules 114 arranged along a transverse or x-direction. In this example, the module 114 includes a cathode layer 116, an anode layer 118, and a direct-conversion material 120 disposed there between. Suitable direct conversion material includes, but is not limited to, cadmium telluride (CdTe), cadmium zinc telluride (CZT), silicon (Si), and/or gallium arsenide (GaAs). The anode layer 118 includes individual detector pixels 122N,1, 122N,2, 122N,3, ..., 122N,M (collectively referred to herein as pixels 122), where N and M are positive integers, which are in electrical communication with electronics 124 (e.g., an ASIC). The pixels 122 detect radiation traversing the examination region 106 and generate electrical signals indicative of an energy thereof.

    [0013] Briefly turning to FIGURE 2, a sub-portion 204 of the anode layer 118 is illustrated and includes four (4) photon counting pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1, and 1222,2 with corresponding pixel anode electrodes 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2. In this example, the photon counting pixels electrodes 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2 are round and isotropic. In a variation, the photon counting pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1, and 1222,2 or electrodes 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2 are otherwise shaped (e.g., square, rectangular, hexagonal, irregular, etc.) and/or not isotropic. In the illustrated example, a pitch 206 (e.g., a center-to-center distance between adjacent detector pixels 122) is on an order of 150 to 350 microns (µm), such as 175 µm, 250 µm, 325 µm, etc. Other pitches are also contemplated herein. A spacing 208 between adjacent detector pixels 122 is on an order of 0.10 to 75.00 microns (µm), such as 0.10, 25.00, 50.00, etc. Other spacing between pixels 122 is also contemplated herein.

    [0014] Returning to FIGURE 1, as described in greater detail below, the pixels 122 are grouped into a plurality of blocks of pixels, each block configured as a detector, and configured to detect for both higher energy resolution applications such as spectroscopic mode and higher x-ray flux applications such as Hounsfield Unit (HU) mode. An example block is a 2x2 block, such as the 2x2 block shown in FIGURE 2. Examples of other size blocks include, but are not limited to, N = 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., etc., and M = 1, 2, 3, 4, ..., etc., for N=M and N≠M. As further described below, a controller 126, in one instance, configures each block through hardware for higher energy resolution and/or higher x-ray flux a priori, or before a scan is performed, e.g., based on the scan protocol, user setting, default, etc. for the scan. As such, arbitration circuitry that determines whether a pixel is saturated and how to combine signals output by pixels based on the determination is mitigated, reducing processing complexity and/or overall cost. However, the particular mode of operation can also be selected based on X-ray flux rate during scanning.

    [0015] For each detector pixel 122, an amplifier / pulse shaper 128 amplifies the output electrical signal and generates a pulse (e.g., voltage, current, etc.) having a peak amplitude that is indicative of the energy of the detected radiation. A discriminator 130 includes one or more comparators 132. Each comparator 132 compares the amplitude of the pulse with one or more predetermined energy thresholds that correspond to one or more different energy ranges. The comparators 132 respectively produce output signals indicative of whether the energy of a detected photon event is above or below the threshold. A counter 134 counts, for each energy range, a number of pulses that falls within the energy range based on the comparator output signals. For example, the counter 134 increments a count value for a threshold in response to the output of the comparator 132 exceeding the corresponding threshold.

    [0016] A binner 136 energy-bins or assigns the counts and hence the detected radiation to an energy window, thereby energy-resolving the detected radiation. A bin is defined for an energy range between two thresholds. The binner 136 assigns a photon event with a count for a lower threshold but not for a higher threshold to the bin defined for the energy range between the two thresholds. A decomposer 138 decomposes the energy-resolved detected radiation. For example, the decomposer 138 may decompose the energy-resolved detected radiation into a photoelectric component, a Compton scatter component, a K-edge component, and/or other basis materials or components. A reconstructor 140 reconstructs one or more of the decomposed components, producing spectral volumetric image data. Alternatively, the decomposed components are combined and reconstructed to produce non-spectral volumetric image data, and/or the spectral volumetric image data is combined to produce non-spectral volumetric image data.

    [0017] A computing system serves as an operator console 142, and includes an output device such as a display and an input device such as a keyboard, mouse, and/or the like. Software resident on the console 142 allows the operator to interact with the system 100. This may include selecting an imaging acquisition protocol, selecting an imaging reconstruction protocol, initiating scanning, pausing scanning, etc. In one instance, the imaging acquisition protocol and/or the imaging reconstruction protocol includes a parameter that indicates the mode (higher energy resolution and/or higher X-ray flux) for the detector module 114 for a scan to be performed. In this instance, the console 142 transmits, conveys, etc. a mode signal to the controller 126, which programs the blocks of pixels 122 for the particular mode of operation based on the mode signal.

    [0018] FIGURE 3 illustrates a non-limiting example of the electronics 124 for a pixel block 300 that includes the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 shown in FIGURE 2. It is to be understood that other blocks (e.g., larger, smaller, non-square, etc.) are contemplated herein.

    [0019] In this example, the electronics 124 include electrically conductive electrodes 3021,1, 3021,2, 3022,1 and 3022,2, respectively corresponding to the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 and in electrical communication with the pixel anode electrodes 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2. An output of the electrode 3021,1 is routed through a first electrically conductive channel 3041 (e.g., a trace, wire, etc.) to a first sub-amplifier / shaper 1281 of the amplifier / pulse shaper 128 (FIGURE 1). An output of the electrode 3021,2 is routed through a second electrically conductive channel 3042. The illustrated second channel 3042 includes a first switch 3062,1 and a second switch 3062,2. The first switch 3062,1 alternately electrically connects and disconnects the channel 3042 to the first channel 3041. The second switch 3062,2 alternately electrically connects or disconnects the channel 3042 to a second sub-amplifier / shaper 1282.

    [0020] An output of the electrode 3022,1 is routed through a third electrically conductive channel 3043, which includes a first switch 3063,1 and a second switch 3063,2. The first switch 3063,1 alternately electrically connects and disconnects the channel 3043 (through the first switch 3062,1) to the first channel 3041. The second switch 3063,2 alternately electrically connects and disconnects the channel 3043 to a third sub-amplifier / shaper 1283. An output of the electrode 3022,2 is routed through a fourth electrically conductive channel 3044, which includes a first switch 3064,1 and a second switch 3064,2. The first switch 3064,1 alternately electrically connects or disconnects the channel 3044 (through the first switches 3062,1 and 3063,1) to the first channel 3041. The second switch 3064,2 alternately electrically connects or disconnects the channel 3044 to a fourth sub-amplifier / shaper 1284.

    [0021] The first switches 3062,1, 3063,1 and 3064,1 are referred to collectively herein as first switches 3061. The second switches 3062,2, 3063,2 and 3064,2 are referred to collectively herein as second switches 3062. The first switches 3061 and the second switches 3062 are referred to collectively herein as switches 306. The controller 126 is configured to control the switches 306. Such control includes "closing" and "opening" the switches 306, which electrically connects or disconnects the first switches 3061 and the second switches 3062 respectively with the channels 3042 - 3044 and the sub-amplifiers / shapers 1281 - 1284 as described herein. In the illustrated example, the controller 126 actuates, before a scan, the switches 306 in response to the mode signal, which, as described herein, is indicative of the mode of operation (higher energy resolution or higher x-ray flux) for a scanned to be performed.

    [0022] In operation, prior to a scan of a subject, the controller 126 receives the mode signal. In one instance, the mode signal is generated during the scan planning phase, such as in connection with a user interacting with a console scan planning application executing on the console 142. The mode signal represents a command which causes the controller 126 to "close" or "open" the switches 306. For example, for a scan where higher energy resolution is required and the X-ray flux will not saturate the detector pixels 122, the mode signal causes the controller 126 to close the first switches 3061 and open the second switches 3062. In this configuration, the outputs of all of the pixels 3021,1, 3021,2, 3022,1 and 3022,2 are routed to the channel 3041 and to the sub-amplifier / shaper 1281. For a higher X-ray flux scan, the mode signal causes the controller 126 to open the first switches 3061 and close the second switches 3062. In this configuration, the output of each of the pixels 3021,1, 3021,2, 3022,1 is routed to a respective different one of the sub-amplifiers / shapers 128.

    [0023] With this configuration, for a pitch of 250 µm and N=M=2, the acquisition electronics is configurable a priori (i.e., before a scan) between four (4) individual 250 x 250 µm pixels and a single 500 x 500 µm larger pixel. As such, the block 300 is configurable between higher energy resolution larger pixel and higher X-ray flux smaller pixel scanning configurations. For non-spectral scans, the individual pixel outputs are individually conveyed to respective discriminators 130 with a single comparator 132 and a threshold set in accordance with, e.g., the noise floor to distinguish between only noise and signal and/or otherwise. For a spectral scan, the combined output of the pixels 122 is processed by the sub-amplifier / shaper 1281 and then conveyed to a discriminator 130 with a bank of three (3) or more comparators 132, such as 3, 4, 5, ..., 10, ... 100, etc. comparators, each with a different energy threshold for energy separation.

    [0024] It is to be understood that the geometry and/or spatial orientation of the physical components described in connection with FIGURE 2 are shown for explanatory purposes and are not limiting. Furthermore, although the electrode 3021,1 is shown always connected to the sub-amplifier / shaper 1281 (i.e., the channel 3041 does not include any switches 306) with the outputs of the other electrodes 302 either connectable to the channel 3041, in another example, a different one of the electrodes 302 is always connected to a sub-amplifier / shaper connected to a discriminator 130 with a bank of comparators with a different energy threshold for energy separation. In any instance, the block 300 is configurable for both higher x-ray flux and higher energy resolution, and can be placed in a particular mode prior to scanning. This configuration also allows for a constant data rate, independent of the mode.

    [0025] Although the above describes configuring the operating mode for the block 300 a priori, it is to be appreciated that in another instance the operating mode is automatically selected depending on the incoming X-ray flux incident on the pixels 122. In this instance, the controller 126 can employ switch criteria that can be implemented based on flux information.

    [0026] FIGURES 4, 5, and 6 illustrate another example of the electronics 124 for the pixel block 300 of FIGURE 3 that includes the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 shown in FIGURE 2. Likewise, other blocks (e.g., larger, smaller, non-square, etc.) are also contemplated for this example.

    [0027] FIGURE 4 shows a sub-portion 402 of the electronics 124 with four (4) regions 404, 406, 408 and 410, which correspond to individual pixel processing. FIGURE 5 shows the sub-portion 402 superimposed over the sub-portion 204 of FIGURE 2, showing the electrically conductive paths between the electrodes 404, 406, 408 and 410 and the pixel anode pads 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2. In this example, the electrode 406 has a larger area than the electrodes 404, 408 and 410, which all have equal areas. With this configuration, the block 300 is configurable, e.g., before a scan, between a mode in which the electrode 404 routes the signals from all of the pixel anode pads 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2 or a mode in which each of the electrodes 404, 406, 408 and 410 routes a signal from a respective one of the pixel anode pads 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2. With this configuration electrode 406 may have extra structures for the extra energy thresholds that may be used in energy resolution mode.

    [0028] In FIGURE 6, a processing chain 6021 for the electrode 404 includes a sub-amplifier / shaper 1281 with an amplifier 6041 and a shaper 6061 configured for a first pulse duration having a single value in a range from, e.g., ten (10) nanoseconds (ns) at full width half maximum (FWHM) to thirty (30) ns FWHM, such as 18, 20, 25, etc. ns FWHM Processing chains 6022 (not visible due to page size limitations), 6023 and 6024 for the electrodes 406, 408 and 410 includes sub-amplifiers / shapers 1282 (not visible due to page size limitations), 1283, and 1284 with amplifiers 6042 (not visible due to page size limitations), 6043, and 6044 and shaper 6062 (not visible due to page size limitations), 6063, and 6064 with a second different pulse duration having a single value in a range from, e.g., ten (30) ns at full FWHM to thirty (50) ns FWHM, such as 35, 40, 48, etc. ns FWHM. The shaper 6061 of the first processing chain 6021 may also be configured for the second different pulse duration and/or other pulse duration.

    [0029] The processing chains 6021, 6022, 6023 and 6024 share a set 1321 of the comparators 132 and a set 1341 of the counters 134. The processing chain 6021 is configured for high energy resolution scanning mode. In this mode, the controller 126 controls switches 6082 (not visible due to page size limitations), 6083 and 6084 so that the signals from the pixel anode pads 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2 are routed to the processing chains 6021. The controller 126 also controls switches 6101, 6102, 6103, ... and the switches 6122 (not visible due to page size limitations), 6123, and 6123 so that only the output of the shaper 6061 is processed by the set 1321 of comparators 132 and the set of counters 1341. In this mode, each comparator/counter pair 132/134 corresponds to a different energy threshold for energy separation of the signal. In this mode, the processing chains 6022, 6023 and 6024 are idle and/or transitioned into a lower power state such as off, a sleep state, a hibernate state, etc., and do not utilize the set 1321 of comparators 132 and the set of counters 1341.

    [0030] The processing chains 6021, 6022, 6023 and 6024 are configured for high X-ray flux scanning mode. In this mode, the controller 126 control switches 6082, 6083 and 6084 so that respective signals from respective pixel anode pads 2021,1, 2021,2, 2022,1 and 2022,2 are routed through respective processing chains 6021, 6022, 6023 and 6024. Furthermore, the controller 126 also the controls switches 6101, 6102, 6103, ... and the switches 6122, 6123, and 6123 so that the outputs of the shapers 6061, 6062, 6063, and 6064 are processed respectively by a single different comparator/counter pair 132/134 of the set 1321 of comparators and the set of counters 1341. In this mode, each comparator/counter pair 132/134 has a same threshold, e.g., corresponding to the noise floor or other predetermined threshold value.

    [0031] FIGURE 7 shows a variation of FIGURE 6 in which each of the processing chains 6021, 6022, 6023 and 6024 has its own set of comparator/counter pairs 7022 (not visible due to page size limitations) 7023,and 7024. For example, in this example, the processing chains 6021 still employs the set 1321 of comparators and the set of counters 1341, using a single comparator/counter pair 132/134 in high x-ray flux mode and using more than a single one of the comparator/counter pairs 132/134 in high energy resolution mode. However, each of the processing chains 6022, 6023 and 6024 employs its own comparator/counter pair 7022, 7023, and 7023 in high x-ray flux mode and no comparator/counter pair in high energy resolution mode, when the chains 6022, 6023 and 6024 may be off or in a lower power mode.

    [0032] The approximate power requirement for a shaper is proportional to a square of an intended bandwidth (or inversely proportional to the square of the pulsed duration). As such, in higher x-ray flux mode with a pulse duration of 30 ns and pixels of 250 µm pitch, the required power per pixel is smaller, by a factor (3/2)2 = 2.25, than the power required for the 500 µm pixel at 20 ns pulse duration. Per mm2, the high x-ray flux mode will then have a 4/2.25=1.8 times higher power consumption.

    [0033] Although the above describes configuring the operating mode for the block 300 a priori, it is to be appreciated that in another instance the operating mode is automatically selected depending on the incoming flux. In this instance, the controller 126 can employ switch criteria that can be implemented based on flux information. This information can be obtained, e.g., by using a mean voltage at the output of the amplifier (which is indicative of the rate), or a count density of the lowest threshold in high energy resolution mode (or any threshold in high x-ray flux mode), or other approach. This will also include automatic adjustment of the threshold to either multiple energy bins (high energy resolution mode) or fixed threshold counting (high x-ray flux mode). The currently employed mode can be transmitted in the image data and/or otherwise.

    [0034] FIGURE 8 illustrates another example of the detector module electronics 124 for the pixel block 300 of FIGURE 3 that includes the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 shown in FIGURE 2. Likewise, other blocks (e.g., larger, smaller, non-square, etc.) are also contemplated for this example.

    [0035] In this example, a summer 802 sums charge from the sub-amplifier / shapers 1281 ... 1284 of the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 to generate spectral information for the aggregate of the block 300 of the pixels 122. The resulting pulse height is equivalent to an output from a single shaper from the same equivalent area, i.e. adding the charge (voltage) of the pixels 122 is equivalent in terms of height and spectral quality (same k-escape fraction, charge sharing,...) as the equivalent conventional single pixel readout of the same 2 x 2 area of the block 300.

    [0036] Each of the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 has a first discriminator 1301,1, 1302,1, 1303,1 and 1304,1 and a corresponding first counter 1341,1, 1342,1, 1343,1 and 1344,1. Each of the first discriminators 1301,1, 1302,1, 1303,1 and 1304,1 has a different energy threshold corresponding to a different energy level of interest. The output of the summer 802 is routed to each of the first discriminators 1301,1, 1302,1, 1303,1 and 1304,1. The output of the first discriminators 1301,1, 1302,1, 1303,1 and 1304,1 is routed to a respective one of the first counter 1341,1, 1342,1, 1343,1 and 1344,1. The output of the first counters 1341,1, 1342,1, 1343,1 and 1344,1, collectively, provide multi-bin spectral information from the equivalent charge forming of a pixel size corresponding to the pixel block 300 or 2x2 pixels.

    [0037] Each of the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 also has a second discriminator 1301,2, 1302,2, 1303,2 and 1304,2 and a corresponding second counter 1341,2, 1342,2, 1343,2 and 1344,2. Each of the second discriminator 1301,2, 1302,2, 1303,2 and 1304,2 has a same energy threshold corresponding to a same energy level of interest, e.g., an energy level of the lowest threshold of the first discriminators 1301,1, 1302,1, 1303,1 and 1304,1 and/or otherwise. The output of each the sub-amplifier / shapers 1281, 1282, 1283 and 1284 is routed to a respective one of the second discriminators 1301,2, 1302,2, 1303,2 and 1304,2. The output of the second discriminators 1301,2, 1302,2, 1303,2 and 1304,2 is routed to a respective one of the second counters 1341,2, 1342,2, 1343,2 and 1344,2. The output of each of the second counters 1341,2, 1342,2, 1343,2 and 1344,2 provides rate information for the individual pixels 122.

    [0038] In this example, all of the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 are associated with two channels that provide two sets of information simultaneously: a spectrally resolving channel at a larger pixel area (an aggregate of the pixels 122) size well suited for energy resolution; and a counting channel for the individual pixels 122. In one instance, the use of one or the other for imaging depends on the imaging requirements. Since both are available at all times, a decision on which information is best for imaging can be made before, during and/or after scanning. The signal-to-noise ratio of the energy-resolving channel can serve as indication as to whether the degradation of imaging performance requires resorting to the information provided at a sub-pixel level. Generally, this example mitigates the charge-sharing (and k-escape) shortcomings of small pixels by already performing hardwired in-pixel charge summing.

    [0039] In a variation, each of the second discriminators 1301,2, 1302,2, 1303,2 and 1304,2 may be associated with only a single counter, which can be triggered by any of the second discriminators 1301,2, 1302,2, 1303,2 and 1304,2. In this variation, the controller 126 controls the counter to avoid racing conditions in the triggering mechanism of the counter. In another variation, all of the pixels 1221,1, 1221,2, 1222,1 and 1222,2 may utilize a same set of counters. In this variation, the controller 126 controls the counter to represent the spectral information of the energy bins, or the rate of each individual pixel, for example, based on an operating point of the detector (e.g., the incoming flux). It is to be understood that a number of thresholds and/or an arrangement and/or location in the pixels is not limited by FIGURE 8. In yet another variation, the output of the second counters 1341,2, 1342,2, 1343,2 and 1344,2 can be transmitted via 1x14 bit words, instead of 4x12 bit words, which is similar to having one single counter while mitigating racing conditions. Other word lengths are contemplated herein.

    [0040] In another variation, the controller 126 (FIGURE 1) includes logic that determines a flux of the detected radiation. The controller 126, in response to the flux of the detected radiation being within the rate capabilities of block 300, routes the output of the first counters 1341,1, 1342,1, 1343,1 and 1344,1 for further processing. The controller 126, in response to the flux of the detected radiation surpassing the rate capabilities of block 300, routes the output of the second counters 1341,1, 1342,1, 1343,1 and 1344,1 for further processing. Each of the second discriminators 1302,1, 1302,2, 1303,2 and 1304,2 is associated with a pixel area ¼ a size of the 2x2 pixel block. As such, a rate of the second discriminators 1302,1, 1302,2, 1303,2 and 1304,2 can be at least a factor of four (4) higher that of the first discriminators 1301,1, 1302,1, 1303,1 and 1304,1.

    [0041] FIGURE 9 illustrates a method in accordance with an embodiment herein.

    [0042] It is to be appreciated that the ordering of the acts in the methods described herein is not limiting. As such, other orderings are contemplated herein. In addition, one or more acts may be omitted and/or one or more additional acts may be included.

    [0043] At 902, a scanning mode for a selected imaging protocol is identified. As described herein, optional scanning modes include higher energy resolution mode and higher X-ray flux mode.

    [0044] At 904, a detector module, which is configured for both the higher energy resolution mode and the higher X-ray flux mode, is configured for the mode of the selected imaging protocol.

    [0045] At 906, the scan is performed with the detector module configured for the mode of the selected imaging protocol.

    [0046] At 908, scan data from the scan is processed, generating volumetric image data of the scanned subject or object.

    [0047] FIGURE 10 illustrates a method in accordance with an embodiment herein.

    [0048] It is to be appreciated that the ordering of the acts in the methods described herein is not limiting. As such, other orderings are contemplated herein. In addition, one or more acts may be omitted and/or one or more additional acts may be included.

    [0049] At 1002, a scan of a subject or object using a detector module, which is configured for both a higher energy resolution mode and a higher X-ray flux mode, is performed.

    [0050] At 1004, first data for the higher energy resolution mode and second data for the higher X-ray flux mode are concurrently generated.

    [0051] At 1006, the first and second data are transmitted off the detector module for processing. Optionally, only a single one of the first and second data is transmitted, for example, based on the X-ray flux rate.

    [0052] At 1008, select one or both of the first and second data for generating volumetric image data. Where only one of the first or second data is selected, criteria such as X-ray flux rate, imaging protocol, etc. can be used to make the determination.

    [0053] The invention has been described with reference to the preferred embodiments. Modifications and alterations may occur to others upon reading and understanding the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the invention be constructed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. An imaging system (100), comprising:

    a detector module (114), including:

    a block (300) of a plurality of direct conversion photon counting detector pixels (122); and

    corresponding electronics (124, 604, 606, 132, 134 or 124, 128, 130, 134, 802) with hardware for both high energy resolution imaging mode and high X-ray flux imaging mode connected with the block of the plurality of direct conversion photon counting detector pixels, the hardware comprising:

    a first shaper (1281, 6061) configured to operate at a first speed;

    a plurality of second shapers (1282-1284, 6062-6064) configured to operate at a second speed; and

    a controller (126) configured to configure the detector module for one of high energy resolution imaging or high X-ray flux imaging, the imaging system being characterized in that the first speed is higher than the second speed.


     
    2. The imaging system of claim 1, the hardware comprising:
    a plurality of switches (306, 608, 610, 612) configured to route signals from all of the plurality of direct conversion photon counting detector pixels to the first shaper in response to the detector module being in the high energy resolution imaging mode.
     
    3. The imaging system of claim 2, wherein the plurality of switches are configured to route a signal from each of the plurality of direct conversion photon counting detector pixels to a different one of the plurality of second shapers in response to the detector module being in the high X-ray flux imaging mode.
     
    4. The imaging system of any of claims 1 to 3, further comprising:

    a first set of two or more comparators and counters (132, 134) configured to process an output of the first shaper, each comparator having a different energy threshold level; and

    a second set of individual comparator/counter pairs (132, 134, 702) each configured to process an output of a respective one of the plurality of second shapers, each comparator a same energy threshold level.


     
    5. The imaging system of any of claims 1 to 3, further comprising:
    a single set of two or more comparators and counters (1321-1341) configured to alternately process an output of the first shaper, wherein each of the comparators has a different energy threshold level, or process individual outputs of the plurality of second shapers with respective different comparators and counters of the set of two or more comparators and counters, wherein each of the comparators has a same energy threshold level.
     
    6. The imaging system of any of claims 1 to 5, further comprising:
    a controller (126) for configuring the module for at least one of the high energy resolution imaging or the high X-ray flux imaging based on an input, wherein the controller is configured to determine an X-ray flux rate during scanning, wherein the input is indicative of the determined X-ray flux rate.
     
    7. The imaging system of any of claims 1 to 6, further comprising:
    a controller for configuring the module for at least one of the high energy resolution imaging or the high X-ray flux imaging based on an input, wherein the input is indicative of an imaging protocol for a scan, and the controller configures the detector module for the high energy resolution imaging or the high X-ray flux imaging before the scan.
     
    8. The imaging system of claim 1, wherein the detector module includes electronics for concurrent high energy resolution imaging and high X-ray flux imaging.
     
    9. The imaging system of claim 6, further comprising:
    two comparator/counter pairs (132, 134) for each of the direct conversion photon counting detector pixels, including a first pair for processing a signal from a single direct conversion photon counting detector pixel and a second pair for processing a summation of signals from all the direct conversion photon counting detector pixels, wherein the first and second pair concurrently process respective signals.
     
    10. The imaging system of claim 9, wherein the each of the first pairs has a different energy threshold, and each of the second pairs has a same energy threshold.
     
    11. The imaging system of any of claims 9 to 10, wherein at least two of the direct conversion photon counting detector pixels share a counter.
     
    12. The imaging system of claim 8, further comprising:
    a single comparator/counter pair for each of the direct conversion photon counting detector pixels configured for both the high energy resolution imaging mode and the high X-ray flux imaging mode.
     
    13. The imaging system of any of claims 1 to 10, wherein the controller is configured to determine an X-ray flux rate during scanning, wherein the input is indicative of the determined X-ray flux rate.
     
    14. A method, comprising:

    identifying a scanning mode for a selected imaging protocol, wherein the scanning modes includes one of a higher energy resolution mode and a higher X-ray flux mode;

    configuring a detector module, which is configurable for both the higher energy resolution mode and the higher X-ray flux mode, based on the identified scanning mode;

    performing the scan with the detector module configured for the mode of the selected imaging protocol; and

    processing scan data from the scan, generating volumetric image data by

    processing output signals from a plurality of detector pixels with a first shaper operating at a first speed in response to configuring the detector module for the higher energy resolution mode; and

    processing the output signals from the plurality of detector pixels respectively with different shapers operating at a second speed in response to configuring the detector module for the higher energy resolution mode, the method being characterized in that the first speed is slower than the second speed.


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Bilderzeugungssystem (100), umfassend:
    ein Detektormodul (114), das aufweist:

    einen Block (300) aus mehreren Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixeln (122); und

    entsprechende Elektronik (124, 604, 606, 132, 134 oder 124, 128, 130, 134, 802) mit Hardware für sowohl einen Bilderzeugungsmodus mit hoher Energieauflösung als auch einen Bilderzeugungsmodus mit hoher Röntgenflussrate, die mit dem Block aus den mehreren Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixeln verbunden ist, wobei die Hardware umfasst:

    einen ersten Former (1281, 6061), der dafür ausgelegt ist, bei einer ersten Geschwindigkeit zu arbeiten;

    mehrere zweite Former (1282-1284, 6062- 6064), die dafür ausgelegt sind, bei einer zweiten Geschwindigkeit zu arbeiten; und

    eine Steuerung (126), die dafür ausgelegt ist, das Detektormodul für entweder eine Bilderzeugung mit hoher Energieauflösung oder eine Bilderzeugung mit hoher Röntgenflussrate zu konfigurieren, wobei das Bilderzeugungssystem dadurch gekennzeichnet ist, dass die erste Geschwindigkeit höher ist als die zweite Geschwindigkeit.


     
    2. Bilderzeugungssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Hardware umfasst:
    mehrere Schalter (306, 608, 610, 612), die dafür ausgelegt sind, als Reaktion darauf, dass das Detektormodul im Bilderzeugungsmodus mit hoher Energieauflösung ist, Signale von jedem von den mehreren Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixeln zum ersten Former zu leiten.
     
    3. Bilderzeugungssystem nach Anspruch 2, wobei die mehreren Schalter dafür ausgelegt sind, als Reaktion darauf, dass das Detektormodul in dem Bilderzeugungsmodus mit hoher Röntgenflussrate ist, ein Signal von jedem von den mehreren Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixeln zu einem anderen von den mehreren zweiten Formern zu leiten.
     
    4. Bilderzeugungssystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, ferner umfassend:

    einen ersten Satz aus zwei oder mehr Komparatoren und Zählern (132, 134), die dafür ausgelegt sind, eine Ausgabe des ersten Formers zu verarbeiten, wobei jeder Komparator einen anderen Energieschwellenwert aufweist; und

    einen zweiten Satz aus individuellen Komparator/Zähler-Paaren (132, 134, 702), die jeweils dafür ausgelegt sind, eine Ausgabe eines bestimmten von den mehreren zweiten Formern zu verarbeiten, jeder Komparator mit einem gleichen Energieschwellenwert.


     
    5. Bilderzeugungssystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, ferner umfassend:
    einen einzelnen Satz aus zwei oder mehr Komparatoren und Zählern (1321-1341), die dafür ausgelegt sind, eine Ausgabe des ersten Formers abwechselnd zu verarbeiten, wobei jeder von den Komparatoren einen anderen Energieschwellenwert aufweist, oder individuelle Ausgaben der mehreren zweiten Former mit jeweils anderen Komparatoren und Zählern des Satzes aus zwei oder mehr Komparatoren und Zählern zu verarbeiten, wobei jeder von den Komparatoren einen gleichen Energieschwellenwert aufweist.
     
    6. Bilderzeugungssystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, ferner umfassend:
    eine Steuerung (126) zum Konfigurieren des Moduls für die Bilderzeugung mit hoher Energieauflösung und/oder die Bilderzeugung mit hoher Röntgenflussrate auf Basis einer Eingabe, wobei die Steuerung dafür ausgelegt ist, eine Röntgenflussrate während einer Abtastung zu bestimmen, wobei die Eingabe die bestimmte Röntgenflussrate angibt.
     
    7. Bilderzeugungssystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, ferner umfassend:
    eine Steuerung zum Konfigurieren des Moduls für die Bilderzeugung mit hoher Energieauflösung und/oder die Bilderzeugung mit hoher Röntgenflussrate auf Basis einer Eingabe, wobei die Eingabe ein Bilderzeugungsprotokoll für eine Abtastung angibt, und die Steuerung das Detektormodul vor der Abtastung für die Bilderzeugung mit hoher Energieauflösung oder die Bilderzeugung mit hoher Röntgenflussrate konfiguriert.
     
    8. Bilderzeugungssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Detektormodul Elektronik für eine Bilderzeugung mit hoher Energieauflösung und gleichzeitig für eine Bilderzeugung mit hoher Röntgenflussrate aufweist.
     
    9. Bilderzeugungssystem nach Anspruch 6, ferner umfassend:
    zwei Komparator/Zähler-Paare (132, 134) für jedes von den Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixeln, einschließlich eines ersten Paares für die Verarbeitung eines Signals von einem einzelnen Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixel und eines zweiten Paares für die Verarbeitung summierter Signale von allen Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixeln, wobei das erste und das zweite Paar die jeweiligen Signale gleichzeitig verarbeiten.
     
    10. Bilderzeugungssystem nach Anspruch 9, wobei jedes von den ersten Paaren einen anderen Energieschwellenwert aufweist und jedes von den zweiten Paaren einen gleichen Energieschwellenwert aufweist.
     
    11. Bilderzeugungssystem nach einem der Ansprüche 9 bis 10, wobei mindestens zwei von den Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixeln einen gleichen Zähler nutzen.
     
    12. Bilderzeugungssystem nach Anspruch 8, ferner umfassend:
    ein einzelnes Komparator/Zähler-Paar für jedes von den Direktumwandlungsphotonenzähler-Detektorpixeln, das sowohl für den Bilderzeugungsmodus mit hoher Energieauflösung als auch den Bilderzeugungsmodus mit hoher Röntgenflussrate konfiguriert ist.
     
    13. Bilderzeugungssystem nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, wobei die Steuerung dafür ausgelegt ist, eine Röntgenflussrate während einer Abtastung zu bestimmen, wobei die Eingabe die bestimmte Röntgenflussrate angibt.
     
    14. Verfahren, umfassend:

    Identifizieren eines Abtastungsmodus für ein ausgewähltes Bilderzeugungsprotokoll, wobei die Abtastungsmodi entweder einen Modus mit höherer Energieauflösung oder einen Modus mit höherer Röntgenflussrate einschließen;

    Konfigurieren eines Detektormoduls, das für sowohl den Modus mit höherer Energieauflösung als auch den Modus mit höherer Röntgenflussrate konfigurierbar ist, auf Basis des identifizierten Abtastungsmodus;

    Durchführen der Abtastung mit dem Detektormodul, das für den Modus des ausgewählten Bilderzeugungsprotokolls konfiguriert ist; und

    Verarbeiten von Abtastungsdaten aus der Abtastung, Erzeugen volumetrischer Bilddaten durch Verarbeiten von Ausgangssignalen von mehreren Detektorpixeln mit einem ersten Former, der mit einer ersten Geschwindigkeit arbeitet, als Reaktion auf die Konfigurierung des Detektormoduls für den Modus der höheren Energieauflösung; und

    Verarbeiten der Ausgangssignale der mehreren Detektorpixel jeweils mit verschiedenen Formern, die bei einer zweiten Geschwindigkeit arbeiten, als Reaktion auf die Konfigurierung des Detektormoduls für den Modus der höheren Energieauflösung, wobei das Verfahren dadurch gekennzeichnet ist, dass die erste Geschwindigkeit niedriger ist als

    die zweite Geschwindigkeit.


     


    Revendications

    1. Système d'imagerie (100), comprenant :
    un module de détecteur (114), comprenant :

    un bloc (300) d'une pluralité de pixels de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe (122) ; et

    une électronique (124, 604, 606, 132, 134 ou 124, 128, 130, 134, 802) correspondante comportant un matériel pour un mode d'imagerie à résolution d'énergie élevée et un mode d'imagerie à flux de rayons X élevé connecté au bloc de la pluralité de pixels de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe, ledit matériel comprenant :

    un premier conformateur (1281, 6061) conçu pour fonctionner à une première vitesse ;

    une pluralité de seconds conformateurs (1282-1284, 6062-6064) conçus pour fonctionner à une seconde vitesse ; et

    un dispositif de commande (126) conçu pour configurer le module de détecteur pour une imagerie à résolution d'énergie élevée ou une imagerie à flux de rayons X élevé, ledit système d'imagerie étant caractérisé en ce que la première vitesse est supérieure à la seconde vitesse.


     
    2. Système d'imagerie selon la revendication 1, le matériel comprenant :
    une pluralité de commutateurs (306, 608, 610, 612) conçus pour acheminer les signaux de l'ensemble de la pluralité de pixels de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe vers le premier conformateur en réponse au fait que le module de détecteur est en mode d'imagerie à résolution d'énergie élevée.
     
    3. Système d'imagerie selon la revendication 2, dans lequel la pluralité de commutateurs sont conçus pour acheminer un signal provenant de chaque pixel de la pluralité de pixels de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe vers un autre conformateur de la pluralité de seconds conformateurs en réponse au fait que le module de détecteur est en mode d'imagerie à flux de rayons X élevé.
     
    4. Système d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, comprenant en outre :

    un premier ensemble d'au moins deux comparateurs et compteurs (132, 134) conçus pour traiter une sortie du premier conformateur, chaque comparateur présentant un niveau seuil d'énergie différent ; et

    un second ensemble de paires de comparateur/compteur individuelles (132, 134, 702) chacune conçue pour traiter une sortie d'un conformateur respectif de la pluralité de seconds conformateurs, chaque comparateur présentant un même niveau seuil d'énergie.


     
    5. Système d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, comprenant en outre :

    un ensemble simple d'au moins deux comparateurs et compteurs (1321-1341) conçus

    pour traiter alternativement une sortie du premier conformateur, dans lequel chacun des comparateurs présente un niveau seuil d'énergie différent, ou pour traiter les sorties individuelles de la pluralité de seconds conformateurs à l'aide des comparateurs et des compteurs différents respectifs de l'ensemble d'au moins deux comparateurs et compteurs, dans lequel chacun des comparateurs présente un même niveau seuil d'énergie.


     
    6. Système d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, comprenant en outre :

    un dispositif de commande (126) pour configurer le module pour l'imagerie à résolution d'énergie élevée et/ou l'imagerie à flux de rayons X élevé en fonction d'une entrée,

    dans lequel ledit dispositif de commande est conçu pour déterminer un taux de flux de rayons X lors du balayage, dans lequel ladite entrée est indicative du taux de flux de rayons X déterminé.


     
    7. Système d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, comprenant en outre :
    un dispositif de commande pour configurer le module pour l'imagerie à résolution d'énergie élevée et/ou l'imagerie à flux de rayons X élevé en fonction d'une entrée, dans lequel ladite entrée est indicative d'un protocole d'imagerie pour un balayage, et ledit dispositif de commande configure le module de détecteur pour l'imagerie à résolution d'énergie élevée ou l'imagerie à flux de rayons X élevé avant le balayage.
     
    8. Système d'imagerie selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le module de détecteur comprend une électronique pour des imagerie à résolution d'énergie élevée et imagerie à flux de rayons X élevé simultanées.
     
    9. Système d'imagerie selon la revendication 6, comprenant en outre :
    deux paires de comparateur/compteur (132, 134) pour chacun des pixels de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe, y compris une première paire pour traiter un signal provenant d'un seul pixel de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe et une seconde paire pour traiter une sommation de signaux de tous les pixels de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe, dans lequel la première et la seconde paire traitent simultanément des signaux respectifs.
     
    10. Système d'imagerie selon la revendication 9, dans lequel chacune des premières paires présente un seuil d'énergie différent, et chacune des secondes paires présente un même seuil d'énergie.
     
    11. Système d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 9 à 10, dans lequel au moins deux des pixels de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe partagent un compteur.
     
    12. Système d'imagerie selon la revendication 8, comprenant en outre :
    une paire simple de comparateur/compteur pour chacun des pixels de détection par comptage de photons à conversion directe conçue pour le mode d'imagerie à résolution d'énergie élevée et le mode d'imagerie à flux de rayons X élevé.
     
    13. Système d'imagerie selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, dans lequel le dispositif de commande est conçu pour déterminer un taux de flux de rayons X lors du balayage, dans lequel l'entrée est indicative du taux de flux de rayons X déterminé.
     
    14. Procédé, comprenant :

    l'identification d'un mode de balayage pour un protocole d'imagerie sélectionné,

    dans lequel les modes de balayage comprennent un mode de résolution d'énergie supérieure ou un mode de flux de rayons X supérieur ;

    la configuration d'un module de détecteur, lequel peut être configuré pour le mode de résolution d'énergie supérieure et le mode de flux de rayons X supérieur, en fonction du mode de balayage identifié ;

    la réalisation du balayage à l'aide du module de détecteur conçu pour le mode du protocole d'imagerie sélectionné ; et

    le traitement des données de balayage du balayage, la génération des données d'image volumétriques par traitement des signaux de sortie d'une pluralité de pixels de détection à l'aide d'un premier conformateur fonctionnant à une première vitesse en réponse à la configuration du module de détecteur pour le mode de résolution d'énergie supérieure ; et

    le traitement des signaux de sortie de la pluralité de pixels de détection respectivement à l'aide de différents conformateurs fonctionnant à une seconde vitesse en réponse à la configuration du module de détecteur pour le mode de résolution d'énergie supérieure, ledit procédé étant caractérisé en ce que la première vitesse est inférieure à la seconde vitesse.


     




    Drawing


























    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description