(19)
(11)EP 3 559 911 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
20.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/21

(21)Application number: 17825208.6

(22)Date of filing:  19.12.2017
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G06T 11/00  (2006.01)
A61B 6/03  (2006.01)
A61B 6/02  (2006.01)
A61B 6/00  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2017/083662
(87)International publication number:
WO 2018/115025 (28.06.2018 Gazette  2018/26)

(54)

REDUNDANCY WEIGHTING FOR SHORT SCAN OFF-CENTER DETECTOR X-RAY TOMOGRAPHY

REDUNDANZGEWICHTUNG FÜR RÖNTGENTOMOGRAPHIE MIT EXZENTRISCHEM DETEKTOR MIT KURZER ABTASTUNG

PONDÉRATION DE REDONDANCE POUR DÉTECTEUR EXCENTRÉ À BALAYAGE COURT DE TOMOGRAPHIE À RAYONS X


(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: 21.12.2016 EP 16205791

(43)Date of publication of application:
30.10.2019 Bulletin 2019/44

(73)Proprietors:
  • Koninklijke Philips N.V.
    5656 AG Eindhoven (NL)
  • Ion Beam Applications S.A.
    1348 Louvain-la-Neuve (BE)

(72)Inventor:
  • SCHÄFER, Dirk
    5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)

(74)Representative: Schaapman, Maaike Ruth 
Philips International B.V. Intellectual Property & Standards High Tech Campus 5
5656 AE Eindhoven
5656 AE Eindhoven (NL)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2010/109352
US-A1- 2005 100 124
  
  • SILVER MICHAEL D: "A method for including redundant data in computed tomography", MEDICAL PHYSICS, AIP, MELVILLE, NY, US, vol. 27, no. 4, 1 April 2000 (2000-04-01), pages 773-774, XP012011114, ISSN: 0094-2405, DOI: 10.1118/1.598939
  • DIRK SCHÄFER ET AL: "FBP and BPF reconstruction methods for circular X-ray tomography with off-center detector", MEDICAL PHYSICS, vol. 38, no. S1, 1 January 2011 (2011-01-01), page S85, XP055005320, ISSN: 0094-2405, DOI: 10.1118/1.3578342 cited in the application
  
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 invention is related to a redundancy weighting for short scan off-center detector X-ray tomography. More specifically, the invention relates to a device and a method for off-center detector X-ray tomography reconstruction using redundancy weighting of projection data acquired using the off-center detector. Further, the invention relates to a computer program for carrying out the method.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



[0002] Modern X-ray tomography devices use X-ray sources which emit a diverging beam, such as a fan beam or a cone beam. The beam traverses an examination region including an object to be imaged, and is intercepted by a detector, which comprises an array of detector elements for detecting incident X-ray radiation. For each ray of the X-ray beam, the detector particularly measures a projection value or line integral value with respect to the line along which the respective ray travelled through the object to be imaged (or next to the object).

[0003] The detector is arranged at a fixed position opposite to the X-ray source and both the X-ray source and the detector are mounted on a rotatable gantry. During an X-ray tomography scan, the X-ray source and the detector rotate around the object in order to acquire a plurality of projection values for the object, which are then used in order to reconstruct a three-dimensional image of the object. In order to reconstruct an image of the complete object, projection values for all lines passing through the object have to be acquired in this process.

[0004] Conventionally, the X-ray source is rotated around the object in a full circle, i.e. on an arc covering 360°, in order to measure projection data for all lines passing through the object. In this case, each line is even sampled twice with rays travelling in opposite directions. These leads to a redundancy, which has to be taken account of in the reconstruction of the image of the object, e.g. by weighting each projection value with 1/2. In this case, the reconstruction is effectively made on the basis of the average of the redundant measurements.

[0005] However, it is likewise possible to measure projection values for all lines passing through the object without having to rotate the X-ray source around the object in a full circle. Rather, it can be shown that it is sufficient for the X-ray source to rotate around a minimum angle which is less than 360° during the scan. A scan involving such a rotation of the X-ray is usually also referred to as short scan. More specifically, it can be shown that the minimum angle is 180° + fan angle, where the fan angle corresponds to the full opening angle of the fan beam.

[0006] In case of a short scan with a centered detector, some lines passing through the object are likewise sampled redundantly as in case of a full 360° scan, while other lines are only sampled once. Redundant projection values are particularly acquired at the start and the end of the arc, and non-redundant projection values are particularly acquired in the middle section of the arc. In order to take account of this redundancy pattern, it is likewise possible to perform a weighting of the measured projection values in the process of reconstructing the image.

[0007] In principle this could be achieved by weighting the non-redundantly measured projection values with 1 and weighting one projection value of each redundant value pair also with 1 and the other value of the redundant value pair with 0. However, such a sharp binary weighting function results in image artifacts. These artifacts can be avoided by using a smooth weighting function. One example of such a weighting function is known as Parker weighting and particularly described in the publication S. Wesarg et al., "Parker weights revisited", Med. Phys. 29 (3), March 2002.

[0008] The weighting function particularly depends on the length of the arc traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam. In practical implementations, this arc length usually deviates from its nominal value resulting from the specified nominal start and end positions of the X-ray source due to inaccuracies occurring in the operation of the X-ray tomography system. Such deviations can particularly result from inaccuracies in the realization of specified nominal positions for the X-ray source, which can be caused by hysteresis in the employed X-ray tomography system and/or by other effects. Further, such deviations can result from an imperfect synchronization between the X-ray source and the gantry, for example, which e.g. result in delayed activation of the X-ray source with respect to the start of the gantry rotation. Due to these deviations the actual arc length of the trajectory of the focus point has to be determined in order to perform the redundancy weighting and avoid related image artifacts.

[0009] In such a way, a three-dimensional image of a complete object can be generated by performing a short scan. However, this requires that the X-ray beam as incident into the detector illuminates the whole object. Otherwise, i.e. if the X-ray beam only illuminated part of the object, truncation artifacts will occur in the generated images. This requirement particularly results in a certain minimum size of the detector.

[0010] In order to increase the size of the field-of-view for a given detector size, the detector may be positioned off-center. This means that the detector is positioned asymmetrically with respect to the central ray of the beam passing through the isocenter. The asymmetric positioning of the detector leads to truncated projections, since the fan beam as incident onto the detector does not illuminate the whole object on one side of the central ray. However, the object can be completely sampled when two short scans are carried out in which the X-ray source travels on overlapping arcs and when the detector offset with respect to the central ray is switched from one side to the other between the two short scans. In order to efficiently carry out these two short scans, the X-ray source may be rotated in one direction for carrying out the first short scan and back in the other direction for carrying out the other short scan, where the end position of the first scan may nominally corresponds to the start position of the second scan.

[0011] On the basis of the projection data acquired during two short scans carried out using an off-center detector by moving the X-ray source along overlapping arcs, a three-dimensional image of an object in an extended field-of-view can be reconstructed. In order to avoid related image artifacts, a redundancy weighting also has to be carried out in this acquisition scheme. In this respect, redundancies have to be compensated for, which occur to due a sampling of the same lines in both scans. Likewise, redundancies have to be compensated for, which occur due to the redundant sampling of lines in each scan. These redundancies correspond to those also occurring in the case of a single short scan and giving cause to the Parker weighting.

[0012] Document WO2010/109352 discloses a reconstruction method for a CT imaging device with an offset detector which acquires data in a single scan in an angular range between a short and a full-scan, the reconstruction comprising a unique redundancy weightingscheme.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0013] It is an object of the invention to provide for a redundancy weighting of projection data acquired by means of an off-center detector during two short scans, particularly with respect to redundancies resulting from a redundant sampling of lines in each short scan.

[0014] In one aspect, the invention suggests a device for off-center detector X-ray tomography reconstruction of an image of an object on the basis of projection data, wherein the projection data is acquired by means of the off-center detector during a rotation of an X-ray source and the off-center detector around the object in two rotational passes of less than 360°, the X-ray source generating a diverging X-ray beam having a focus point and the focus point travelling along largely overlapping arcs in the two rotational passes, the off-center detector being positioned asymmetrically with respect to a central ray of the X-ray beam and a direction of a detector offset being reversed between the passes. The device is configured for redundancy weighting of the projection data with respect to a redundant acquisition of projection values during each of the rotational passes using a redundancy weighting function, the redundancy weighting functions being determined on the basis of a union of the arcs.

[0015] Since the redundancy weighting of projection values acquired in the first and second rotational pass is made on the basis of a uniform redundancy weighting function, which is determined on the basis of the union of the arcs traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam in the first and second rotational passes, high-quality images can be reconstructed. The term union of the arcs particularly denotes an arc consisting of the points contained in at least one of the arcs traversed by the focus point in the two rotational passes. The redundancy weighting function may particularly be a Parker weighting function.

[0016] In accordance with a straightforward solution to the redundancy weighting problem, it would also be possible to determine individual redundancy weighting functions for each of the rotational passes on the basis of the length of the arc traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam in the respective rotational pass. However, it turned out that this solution leads to artifacts in the reconstructed image. These artifacts can be avoided when a uniform redundancy weighting function is used for redundancy weighting the projection values acquired in both rotational passes, which is determined based on the union of the arcs traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam in the first and second rotational passes.

[0017] In one embodiment of the invention, the device is configured to determine the redundancy weighting function based on a parameter representing a length of the union of the arcs. The parameter may particularly correspond to the angular distance between the end points of the union of the arc. For a given distance between the focus point of the X-ray beam and the isocenter of the rotation of the X-ray source and the detector, this angular distance parameterizes the length of the union of the arc. In case of a circular trajectory of the focus point of the X-ray beam, this distance is constant. However, the invention is not limited to such circular trajectories and is also applicable to scans involving a varying distance between the focus point of the X-ray beam and the isocenter.

[0018] In one embodiment, the parameter is determined based on measured positions of the X-ray source at the start and the end of each rotational pass. This ensures that the redundancy weighting function is determined on the basis of the actual length of the union of the arcs traversed by the focus point of the X-ray source in the rotational passes of the scan to be evaluated.

[0019] However, the redundancy weighting function can only be determined after completion of the scan in this embodiment so that image reconstruction can only start after completion of the scan. Therefore, a further embodiment of the invention includes that the parameter is pre-stored in the device for nominal positions of the X-ray source at the start and end of the first and second rotational passes based on a value of the parameter empirically determined for the nominal positions. This value of the parameter may particularly be determined in a calibration scan carried out beforehand.

[0020] As the deviation between the nominal start and end positions of the X-ray source in the rotational passes and the actual start and end positions is essentially the same in different scans, the pre-stored value of the parameter essentially corresponds to the actual value of the parameter in the scan to be evaluated. Hence, an accurate image reconstruction can be carried out and the image reconstruction can start during the scan, so that the reconstructed image is available quickly after completion of the scan.

[0021] In an alternative embodiment, the device is configured to use an estimated value of the parameter, which represents an estimated length of the union of the arcs which is equal to or larger than the union of the actual arcs. Such a value can be determined based on the nominal length of the union of the arcs traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam and an additional safety margin added to the nominal length. In this embodiment, it can be ensured that at least an approximated redundancy weight can be calculated for each line during the first and second rotational passes of the scan without having to measure the actual start and end positions of the X-ray source in the first and second rotational passes during the scan or beforehand.

[0022] In a further embodiment of the invention, the diverging X-ray beam incident onto the off-center detector has an opening angle which corresponds to a sum of a first opening angle and a second opening angle between edge rays and a central ray, and wherein the focus point of the X-ray beam is rotated by a rotation angle, which is equal to or larger than the sum of 180° and twice the larger opening angle, in each rotational pass. Hereby, it can be ensured that all lines through the field-of-view are sampled during the scan. The central ray corresponds to the ray of the X-ray beam, which passes through the center of the field-of-view. This center is usually also referred to as isocenter and corresponds to the center of the rotation of the X-ray source in case of a circular trajectory of the X-ray source.

[0023] Moreover, an embodiment of the invention includes that nominal rotation angles of the focus point of the X-ray beam during the first and second rotational passes correspond to each other. Thus, the focus point travels by the same angular distance in the first and second rotational passes.

[0024] In one embodiment of the invention, the detector offset has a first direction and a first magnitude during the first rotational pass and a second direction and magnitude during the second rotational pass, the second magnitude corresponding to the first magnitude and the second direction being opposite to the first direction.

[0025] In a further embodiment of the invention, the X-ray source is rotated in a first direction during the first rotational pass and in a second direction during the second rotational pass, the second direction being opposite to the first direction. In a related embodiment of the invention, a nominal start position of the second rotational pass corresponds to a nominal end position of the first rotational pass. These embodiments allow for an especially time-efficient execution of the two rotational passes.

[0026] In one embodiment, the device is further configured for redundancy weighting of the projection data with respect to a redundancy due to an acquisition of the same projection values in both rotational passes. This redundancy may particularly be taken account for by an additional redundancy weighting function.

[0027] Moreover, one embodiment of the invention comprises that the diverging X-ray beam is configured as a fan beam or a cone beam.

[0028] In a further aspect, the invention suggests a method for off-center detector X-ray tomography reconstruction of an image of an object on the basis of projection data, wherein the projection data is acquired by means of the off-center detector during a rotation of an X-ray source and the off-center detector around the object in two rotational passes of less than 360°, the X-ray source generating a diverging X-ray beam having a focus point and the focus point travelling along largely overlapping arcs in the two rotational passes, the off-center detector being positioned asymmetrically with respect to a central ray of the X-ray beam and a direction of a detector offset being reversed between the passes. The method comprises redundancy weighting of the projection data with respect to a redundant acquisition of projection values during each of the rotational passes using a redundancy weighting function, the redundancy weighting functions being determined on the basis of a union of the arcs.

[0029] In a further aspect, the invention suggests a computer program for off-center detector X-ray tomography reconstruction, comprising program code means for causing a computer to carry out the method when the computer program is run on the computer.

[0030] It shall be understood that the device of claim 1, the method of claim 14 and the computer program of claim 15 have similar and/or identical preferred embodiments, in particular, as defined in the dependent claims.

[0031] It shall be understood that a preferred embodiment of the present invention can also be any combination of the dependent claims or above embodiments with the respective independent claim.

[0032] These and other aspects of the invention will be apparent from and elucidated with reference to the embodiments described hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0033] In the following drawings:

Figure 1 schematically and exemplarily shows components of an X-ray tomography system for acquiring projection data using an off-center X-ray detector,

Figure 2 schematically and exemplarily illustrates an off-center detector geometry,

Figure 3a schematically and exemplary illustrates the start and end positions of a first rotational pass of a two-pass X-ray tomography scan and a trajectory of a focus point of an X-ray beam during the first rotational pass,

Figure 3b schematically and exemplary illustrates the start and end positions of a second rotational pass of the two-pass scan and a trajectory of the focus point of the X-ray beam during the second rotational pass,

Figure 4 schematically and exemplarily shows trajectories of a focus point of an X-ray beam during first and second rotational passes of a two-pass CT scan, and

Figure 5 schematically and exemplarily shows a diagram illustrating regions comprising redundantly acquired projection data.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



[0034] Figure 1 schematically and exemplarily show components of an X-ray tomography system for carrying out off-center detector X-ray tomography scans in two rotational passes and to reconstruct three-dimensional images from projection data acquired in such scans. The image reconstruction is based on a redundancy weighting of projection values particularly with respect to a redundant acquisition of projection values in each of passes, where this redundancy weighting is performed on the basis of a uniform weighting function for both passes, which is determined on the basis of the trajectories of the focus point in both rotational passes.

[0035] The X-ray tomography system comprises an X-ray source 1, such as an X-ray tube, and an X-ray detector 2, which are mounted opposite to each other on a rotatable gantry 3. The gantry 3 may be configured as annular device, a C-arm, or it may be realized by two robotic arms, for example. By rotating the gantry 3, the X-ray source 1 and the detector 2 can be rotated around on object to be imaged, which is positioned in a measurement region 4 located between the X-ray source 1 and the detector 2. The X-ray source 1 is configured to produce a divergent X-ray beam, which may particularly be configured as fan beam or a cone beam. In order to form the X-ray beam in accordance with the desired shape, the X-ray source 1 may particularly comprise a suitable collimator 5. The detector 2 comprises a curved or flat detector array consisting of a plurality of detector elements for measuring incident X-ray radiation. During operation, the radiation measurement of each detector element at a certain position of the detector 2 corresponds to one projection value of the object to be imaged with respect to a line corresponding to the path of the of the part of the X-ray beam incident onto the respective detector element.

[0036] During the X-ray scans carried out in the system, the detector 2 is operated as an off-center detector. This means that the detector array of the detector 2 is positioned asymmetrically with respect to the central ray of the beam passing through the isocenter , in a direction perpendicular to the direction of the central ray. In other words, the central ray through the isocenter does not correspond to the bisecting line of the fan beam incident onto the X-ray detector 2. Rather, the beam has an opening angle that is composed of two different angles δL and δS, with δL > δS, between the central ray and the edge rays on both sides of the central ray. This geometry is schematically and exemplarily illustrated in Fig. 2, showing the angles δL and δS between the edges rays 201a, 201b and the central ray 202 passing from the focus point 203 of the X-ray beam through the isocenter 204. The detector offset, which may be parameterized by the displacement D between the middle 205 of the X-ray detector 2 and the central ray 202 of the X-ray beam, can preferably be controlled by displacing the detector array relative to X-ray source 1 until the desired detector offset is achieved. Further, the shape of the X-ray beam may be adapted to a selected detector offset such that the detector 2 is fully illuminated and that essentially no X-ray radiation reaches regions next to the detector 2. This may be achieved by means of a suitable configuration of the collimator 5 included in the X-ray source 1.

[0037] The components of the X-ray tomography system including the X-ray source 1, the gantry 3 and the X-ray detector 2 are controlled by means of a control unit 6, which may be configured as a computer-implemented unit comprising a computer program which includes procedures for controlling the components of the X-ray tomography system and which is executed in a computer device connected to the components of the X-ray tomography system in a suitable way.

[0038] In order to reconstruct images from the projection data acquired by means of the X-ray detector 2, the X-ray tomography system comprises a reconstruction unit 7. Also the reconstruction unit 7 may be a computer-implemented unit which comprises a computer program that provides procedures for reconstructing the three-dimensional images and that is executed on the aforementioned computer device or a further computer device connected to the X-ray detector 2. In one embodiment, the acquired projection values may be transmitted to the reconstruction unit 7 as soon as they are available in the X-ray detector 2. In this embodiment, the reconstruction unit 7 may reconstruct an image on the fly, while the X-ray tomography scan is carried out. This has the advantage that the image is quickly available upon the completion of the scan.

[0039] Using the off-center detector 2, the X-ray tomography system carries out a tomography scan in two rotational passes in which the focus point of the X-ray beam travels along overlapping arcs. In order to sample all lines through the object to be imaged, the focus point is rotated around the isocenter by an angle of at least 180° + 2 δL during each rotational pass and the detector offset is switched between the rotational passes. In so doing, the detector offset is preferably changed such that the magnitude of the detector offset is maintained and the direction of the detector offset is reversed. Thus, the angles δL and δS effectively changes sides with respect to the central ray of the X-ray beam. In such a way, images can be generated for a field-of-view which corresponds to the field-of-view of a centered detector capturing an X-ray beam having an opening angle of 2δL.

[0040] Nominally, the focus point of the X-ray beam preferably travels along identical arcs during the first and second rotational passes. Moreover, the end position of the first rotational pass preferably corresponds to the start position of the second rotational pass in one embodiment in order to minimize the scan time. Thus, as schematically and exemplarily shown in Fig. 3a, the focus point travels from a start position A along an arc 301 to the position B in the first rotational pass, where the angular distance between the positions A and B is 180° + 2δL (or larger). Then, upon having switched the detector offset, the focus point travels from the position B back to the position A along the same arc 301, as schematically and exemplarily illustrated in Fig. 3b.

[0041] In practice, the actual start position of the focus point for the second rotational pass deviates from the end position of the focus point after the first rotational pass start and the actual end position of the focus point after the second rotational pass deviates from the start position of the focus point in the first rotational pass. This is schematically and exemplarily illustrated in Fig. 4, showing trajectories 401 and 402 of the focus point during the first and second rotational pass. As can be seen in the figure, the trajectories are largely overlapping. However, the start position A1 of the focus point in the first rotational pass deviates slightly from the end position B2 of the focus point in the second rotational pass, and the start position B1 of the focus point in the second rotational pass deviates slightly from the end position A2 of the focus point in the first rotational pass.

[0042] As explained above, these deviations result from inaccuracies occurring in the operation of the X-ray tomography system, such as inaccuracies in the realization of specified nominal positions for the X-ray source 1 and/or an imperfect synchronization between the X-ray source 1 and the gantry 3.

[0043] In order to reconstruct an image on the basis of the projection data acquired in the aforementioned two-pass scan, the reconstruction unit applies a suitable reconstruction algorithm known to a person skilled in the art. Exemplary reconstruction algorithms, which may be applied in case the X-ray beam is configured as a cone beam, are described in the publication D. Schäfer et al., "FBP and BPF reconstruction methods for circular X-ray tomography with off-center detector", Med. Phys. 38 (7), July 2011. In case the X-ray beam is configured as a fan beam, the reconstruction unit 7 may apply a suitable adaptation of these algorithms to the fan beam shape, which corresponds to a special case of the more general cone beam shape.

[0044] The image reconstruction is carried out on the basis of redundancy weighted projection data wi(α, β) gi(α, β). Here, gi(α, β) denotes a projection value acquired by measuring a ray having an angle α within the fan at a source angle β in the i-th rotational pass (i = 1, 2), where the angle α within the fan, may correspond to the angle between the ray and the central ray, and where the source angle corresponds to the angle between the central ray and a reference (in case of a cone beam, also a cone-beam variable is assigned to the projection values, which is not made explicit herein). The parameters wi(α, β) denote values of a redundancy weighting function for the i-the rotational pass.

[0045] The redundancy weighting functions take account of the redundant sampling of lines during the X-ray tomography scan. As will be explained in more detail herein below, they particularly compensate for a redundant sampling of lines within each rotational pass of the scan. Preferably, they also compensate for a redundant sampling of lines in both rotational passes of the scan. In this case, each of the redundancy weighting functions may correspond to a product of a first redundancy weighting function wai and a second redundancy weighting function wbi, where the first redundancy weighting function wai takes account of the redundant sampling of lines within the i-th rotational pass and the second redundancy weighting function wbi takes account of the remaining redundancy due to the redundant sampling of lines in both rotational passes.

[0046] The second redundancy weighting function wbi may be derived based on the overlap of the off-center detector at a source angle in the first pass and the off-center detector at the same source angle in the second rotational pass and, thus, only depends on the angle α. A suitable redundancy weighting function is particularly disclosed in the aforementioned publication by D. Schäfer et al. for an image reconstruction from projection data acquired by means of an off-center detector in a full 360° scan, and this weighting function may also be applied in case of the present two-pass scan.

[0047] In the following, the first redundancy weighting functions will be further discussed and, suppressing the index a, these weighting functions will be denoted as wi(α, β) in this discussion. As said, the weighting function wi(α, β) compensates for the redundant sampling of lines in the i-th rotational pass.

[0048] In this respect, it is known that gi(α, β) = gi(-α, β + 180° + ). In case of a centered detector and a fan opening angle δ, this equation leads to the diagram shown in Fig. 5 for a scan over a range of 180° + 2δ+ 2ε, where 2ε is also referred to as overscan angle as it corresponds to the extension beyond the minimum range of 180° + 2δ. In the diagram, the areas I and I' contain redundant data and the regions II and II' contain redundant. By way of example, three markers are shown in the diagram, where identical markers indicate redundant rays. Region III does not contain redundant data.

[0049] In principle, it would be possible to assign a redundancy weight of 1 to the rays in the regions I', II' and III in the diagram of Fig. 5 and a redundancy weight of 0 to the rays in the regions I and II in order to solve the redundancy problem. However, this choice would lead to increased noise in the image and to image artifacts when using standard image reconstruction techniques. These artifacts can be avoided by using a smooth redundancy weighting function. Such weighting function may particularly depend on a parameter representing the length of arc traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam during the scan or pass. This parameter may particularly be the angular range or distance 180° + 2δ+ 2ε.

[0050] One example of such a weighting function is the Parker weighting function. Using γ= π+ 2δ+ 2ε (with π representing an angle of 180°) as the parameter representing the length of the arc traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam, this function can be written as:



[0051] Using such a weighting function, a straightforward choice for the redundancy weighting functions wi for the two-pass scan would be wi = wp(α, β; γi), where the parameters γi corresponds that actual lengths of the arcs traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam during the first and second rotational pass. Thus, γ1 corresponds to the angular distance between the positions A1 and A2 shown in Fig. 4, i.e. to the angle between the connection lines connecting the positions A1 and A2 with the isocenter. Further, γ2 corresponds to the angular distance between the positions B1 and B2 shown in Fig. 4. This choice for the redundancy weighting functions corresponds to a separate calculation of the redundancy weightings for each of the two rotational passes of the scan.

[0052] However, it turned out that this choice for the redundancy weighting functions leads to streak artifacts in the reconstructed images.

[0053] In order to avoid these artifacts, the invention suggests to use a uniform redundancy weighting function for the redundancy weighting of projection data of both rotational passes of the scan and to determine this redundancy weighting function based on the union of the arcs traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam during the first and second rotational passes. More specifically, the redundancy weighting function is determined based on a parameter representing a length of the union of the arcs traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam during the first and second rotational passes. The union of these arcs is to be understood to denote an arc consisting of points contained in at least one of these arcs. Thus, the redundancy weighting function is determined on the basis of the full arc, which is traversed by the focal point of the X-ray beam in both rotational passes. Moreover, a uniform redundancy weighting function is used, which means that the same redundancy weighting function is used for redundancy weighting projection values acquired in the first pass and the second pass of the scan.

[0054] The angular range of the union of the arcs traversed by the focus point of the X-ray beam in the first and second rotational pass may be denoted as γ12 and may be given by γ12 = π+ 2δL + 2ε12. In this expression δL denotes the larger angle between the central ray and an edge ray of the asymmetric X-ray beam incident onto the detector 2 as explained above and ε12 denotes the cumulated overshoot over the angular range 180° + 2δL in both rotational passes. Using this nomenclature and using the exemplary redundancy weighting function wp given above, the first and second redundancy weighting functions for redundancy weighting of the projection data acquired during the first and second rotational passes of the two-pass scan may be determined as w1 = w2 = wp(α, β; γ12) in one embodiment of the invention.

[0055] In the example shown in Fig. 4, the union of the arcs traversed by the focus points of the X-ray beam in the first and second rotational passes corresponds to the arc between the points A1 and B1. The value of the parameter γ12 therefore corresponds to the angular distance between the points A1 and B1.

[0056] In order to reconstruct an image on the basis of a redundancy weighting function of the aforementioned type, the reconstruction unit 7 determines the function on the basis of the union of the arcs traversed by the focus of the X-ray beam. In particular, the reconstruction unit 7 determines the function on the basis of the relevant parameter representing the length of the union of arc, which may particularly correspond to the angular range covered by the union of the arcs as explained above.

[0057] In one embodiment, the reconstruction unit 7 determines the relevant parameter on the basis of the actual start and end positions of the X-ray source 1 in the first and second rotations passes. These positions may be measured by a suitable localization system integrated into the X-ray tomography system. Typically, X-ray tomography systems dispose of such a localization system by default and log selected or all positions of the X-ray source 1, in which radiation measurements are carried out, in a measurement protocol. This measurement protocol may be evaluated by the reconstruction unit 7 in order to determine the relevant parameter.

[0058] However, the redundancy weighting function can only be determined after completion of the scan in this approach, since the end position of the X-ray source in the second rotational pass can only be measured at the end of the scan. Thus, image reconstruction can only start after completion of the scan.

[0059] In order to be able to start image reconstruction already during the scan, the reconstruction unit 7 may use a value of the relevant parameter, which is pre-stored in the reconstruction unit 7, in a further embodiment. This value may be determined in a calibration scan, which is carried out beforehand in the same way as the scan to be evaluated using the same nominal start and end positions of the X-ray source 1 in the first and second rotational pass. For this calibration scan, the value of the relevant parameter is determined on the basis of the measured actual start and end positions of the X-ray source 1 in the first end second rotational pass and this value is then stored in the reconstruction unit 7. Since it is to be assumed that the deviation between the relevant nominal positions of the X-ray source 1 and the actual positions is essentially the same for the calibration scan and any later scan, the stored value of the parameter accurately corresponds to the actual value of the parameter in the scan to be evaluated.

[0060] In an alternative embodiment, the reconstruction unit 7 estimates the value of the parameter on the basis of the nominal start and end positions of the X-ray source 1 in the first and second rotational passes of the scan to be evaluated. For this purpose, the reconstruction unit 7 may calculate a value of the parameter from the nominal positions and add a suitable safety margin to the calculated value. The safety margin may be a preconfigured value which is preferably selected such that the estimated value of the parameter represents a length of the union of the arc which is not shorter than the actual length of the union of the arc. Further, the safety margin may preferably be selected such that the estimated value of the parameter represents a length of the union of the arc which is not much longer than the actual length of the union of the arc. In such a way, it can be ensured that a redundancy weight can be calculated for each sampled line, which is at least approximately accurate.

[0061] Other variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by those skilled in the art in practicing the claimed invention, from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims.

[0062] In the claims, the word "comprising" does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article "a" or "an" does not exclude a plurality.

[0063] A computer program may be stored/distributed on a suitable medium, such as an optical storage medium or a solid-state medium, supplied together with or as part of other hardware, but may also be distributed in other forms, such as via the Internet or other wired or wireless telecommunication systems.

[0064] Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope.


Claims

1. A device for off-center detector X-ray tomography reconstruction of an image of an object on the basis of projection data,
wherein the projection data has been acquired by means of the off-center detector (2) during a rotation of an X-ray source (1) and the off-center detector (2) around the object in two rotational passes of less than 360°, the X-ray source (1) generating a diverging X-ray beam having a focus point (203) and the focus point (203) travelling along largely overlapping arcs (401, 402) in the two rotational passes, the off-center detector (2) being positioned asymmetrically with respect to a central ray of the X-ray beam and a direction of a detector offset being reversed between the passes, and
wherein the device is configured for redundancy weighting of the projection data with respect to the redundant acquisition of the projection values during each of the rotational passes using a redundancy weighting function, the redundancy weighting functions being determined on the basis of a union of the arcs (401, 402).
 
2. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the device is configured to determine the redundancy weighting function based on a parameter representing a length of the union of the arcs (401, 402).
 
3. The device as defined in claim 2, wherein the parameter is pre-stored in the device for nominal positions of the X-ray source (1) at the start and end of the first and second rotational passes based on a value of the parameter empirically determined for the nominal positions.
 
4. The device as defined in claim 2, wherein the parameter is determined based on measured positions of the X-ray source (1) at the start and the end of each rotational pass.
 
5. The device as defined in claim 2, wherein the device is configured to use an estimated value of the parameter, which represents an estimated length of the union of the arcs (401, 402) which is equal to or larger than the union of the actual arcs (401, 402).
 
6. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the weighting function corresponds to a Parker weighting function.
 
7. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the diverging X-ray beam incident onto the off-center detector (1) has an opening angle which corresponds to a sum of a first opening angle (δL) and a second opening angle (δL) between edge rays (201a, 201b) and a central ray (202), and wherein the focus point (203) of the X-ray beam is rotated by a rotation angle, which is equal to or larger than the sum of 180° and twice the larger opening angle (δL), in each rotational pass.
 
8. The device as defined in claim 7, wherein nominal rotation angles of the focus point (203) of the X-ray beam during the first and second rotational passes correspond to each other.
 
9. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the detector offset has a first direction and a first magnitude during the first rotational pass and a second direction and magnitude during the second rotational pass, the second magnitude corresponding to the first magnitude and the second direction being opposite to the first direction.
 
10. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the X-ray source (1) is rotated in a first direction during the first rotational pass and in an second direction during the second rotational pass, the second direction being opposite to the first direction.
 
11. The device as defined in claim 10, wherein a nominal start position of the second rotational pass corresponds to a nominal end position of the first rotational pass.
 
12. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the device is further configured for redundancy weighting of the projection data with respect to a redundancy due to an acquisition of the same projection values in both rotational passes.
 
13. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein the diverging X-ray beam is configured as a fan beam or a cone beam.
 
14. A method for off-center detector X-ray tomography reconstruction of an image of an object on the basis of projection data,
wherein the projection data has been acquired by means of the off-center detector (2) during a rotation of an X-ray source (1) and the off-center detector (2) around the object in two rotational passes of less than 360°, the X-ray source (1) generating a diverging X-ray beam having a focus point (203) and the focus point (203) travelling along largely overlapping arcs (401, 402) in the two rotational passes, the off-center detector (2) being positioned asymmetrically with respect to a central of the X-ray beam and a direction of a detector offset being reversed between the passes, and
wherein the method comprises redundancy weighting of the projection data with respect to the redundant acquisition of the projection values during each of the rotational passes using a redundancy weighting function, the redundancy weighting functions being determined on the basis of a union of the arcs.
 
15. A computer program for off-center detector X-ray tomography reconstruction, comprising program code means for causing a computer to carry out a method as defined in claim 14 when the computer program is run on the computer.
 


Ansprüche

1. Vorrichtung zur Rekonstruktion durch Röntgentomographie mit exzentrischem Detektor eines Bildes eines Objekts auf der Basis von Projektionsdaten,
wobei die Projektionsdaten mittels des exzentrischem Detektors (2) während einer Rotation einer Röntgenquelle (1) und des exzentrischen Detektors (2) um das Objekt in zwei Rotationsdurchläufen von weniger als 360° erfasst wurden, wobei die Röntgenquelle (1) einen divergierenden Röntgenstrahl mit einem Fokuspunkt (203) erzeugt und wobei der Fokuspunkt (203) sich in den beiden Rotationsdurchläufen entlang der weitgehend überlappenden Bögen (401, 402) bewegt, wobei der exzentrische Detektor (2) asymmetrisch gegenüber einem Mittelstrahl des Röntgenstrahls positioniert und wobei eine Richtung eines Detektorversatzes zwischen den Durchläufen umgekehrt ist, und
wobei die Vorrichtung für die Redundanzgewichtung der Projektionsdaten in Bezug auf die redundante Erfassung der Projektionswerte während jedes der Rotationsdurchläufe unter Verwendung einer Redundanzgewichtungsfunktion konfiguriert ist, wobei die Redundanzgewichtungsfunktionen auf der Basis einer Vereinigung der Bögen (401, 402) bestimmt wird.
 
2. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Vorrichtung konfiguriert ist, um die Redundanzgewichtungsfunktion basierend auf einem Parameter zu bestimmen, der eine Länge der Vereinigung der Bögen (401, 402) darstellt.
 
3. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 2, wobei der Parameter in der Vorrichtung für Nennpositionen der Röntgenquelle (1) zu Beginn und am Ende des ersten und zweiten Rotationsdurchlaufs basierend auf einem Wert des Parameters, der empirisch für die Nennpositionen bestimmt wird, vorgespeichert wird.
 
4. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 2, wobei der Parameter basierend auf gemessenen Positionen der Röntgenquelle (1) zu Beginn und am Ende jedes Rotationsdurchlaufs bestimmt wird.
 
5. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 2, wobei die Vorrichtung konfiguriert ist, um einen geschätzten Wert des Parameters zu verwenden, der eine geschätzte Länge der Vereinigung der Bögen (401, 402) darstellt, die gleich oder größer als die Vereinigung der tatsächlichen Bögen (401, 402) ist.
 
6. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Gewichtungsfunktion einer Parker-Gewichtungsfunktion entspricht.
 
7. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei der divergierende Röntgenstrahl, der auf den exzentrischen Detektor (1) einfällt, einen Öffnungswinkel aufweist, der einer Summe eines ersten Öffnungswinkels (δL) und eines zweiten Öffnungswinkels (δL) zwischen Randstrahlen (201a, 201b) und einem Mittelstrahl (202) entspricht, wobei der Fokuspunkt (203) des Röntgenstrahls um einen Drehwinkel gedreht wird, der gleich oder größer als die Summe von 180° und zweimal der große Öffnungswinkel (δL) in jedem Rotationsdurchlauf ist
 
8. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 7, wobei Nenndrehwinkel des Fokuspunktes (203) des Röntgenstrahls während des ersten und zweiten Rotationsdurchlaufs einander entsprechen.
 
9. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Detektorversatz eine erste Richtung und eine erste Größe während des ersten Rotationsdurchlaufs und eine zweite Richtung und Größe während des zweiten Rotationsdurchlaufs aufweist, wobei die zweite Größe der ersten Größe entspricht und wobei die zweite Richtung der ersten Richtung entgegengesetzt ist.
 
10. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Röntgenquelle (1) während des ersten Rotationsdurchlaufs in einer ersten Richtung und während des zweiten Rotationsdurchlaufs in einer zweiten Richtung gedreht wird, wobei die zweite Richtung der ersten Richtung entgegengesetzt ist.
 
11. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 10, wobei eine Nennstartposition des zweiten Rotationsdurchlaufs einer Nennendposition des ersten Rotationsdurchlaufs entspricht.
 
12. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Vorrichtung zudem für Redundanzgewichtung der Projektionsdaten in Bezug auf eine Redundanz aufgrund einer Erfassung der gleichen Projektionswerte in beiden Rotationsdurchläufen konfiguriert ist.
 
13. Vorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, wobei der divergierende Röntgenstrahl als Fächerstrahl oder Kegelstrahl konfiguriert ist.
 
14. Verfahren zur Rekonstruktion einer Röntgentomographie mit exzentrischem Detektor eines Bildes eines Objekts auf der Basis von Projektionsdaten,
wobei die Projektionsdaten mittels des exzentrischem Detektors (2) während einer Rotation einer Röntgenquelle (1) und des exzentrischen Detektors (2) um das Objekt in zwei Rotationsdurchläufen von weniger als 360° erfasst wurden, wobei die Röntgenquelle (1) einen divergierenden Röntgenstrahl mit einem Fokuspunkt (203) erzeugt und wobei der Fokuspunkt (203) sich in den beiden Rotationsdurchläufen entlang der weitgehend überlappenden Bögen (401, 402) bewegt, wobei der exzentrische Detektor (2) asymmetrisch gegenüber einem Mittelstrahl des Röntgenstrahls positioniert und eine Richtung eines Detektorversatzes zwischen den Durchläufen umgekehrt ist, und
wobei das Verfahren eine Redundanzgewichtung der Projektionsdaten in Bezug auf die redundante Erfassung der Projektionswerte während jedes der Rotationsdurchläufe unter Verwendung einer Redundanzgewichtungsfunktion umfasst, wobei die Redundanzgewichtungsfunktionen auf der Basis einer Vereinigung der Bögen bestimmt werden.
 
15. Computerprogramm zur Rekonstruktion einer Röntgentomographie mit exzentrischem Detektor, umfassend Programmcodemittel, die bewirken, dass ein Computer ein Verfahren nach Anspruch 14 ausführt, wenn das Computerprogramm auf dem Computer ausgeführt wird.
 


Revendications

1. Dispositif de reconstruction par tomographie à rayons X à détecteur excentré d'une image d'un objet sur la base de données de projection,
dans lequel les données de projection ont été acquises au moyen du détecteur excentré (2) pendant une rotation d'une source de rayons X (1) et du détecteur excentré (2) autour de l'objet en deux passages de rotation de moins de 360°, la source de rayons X (1) générant un faisceau de rayons X divergent ayant un point focal (203) et le point focal (203) se déplaçant le long d'arcs (401, 402) se chevauchant principalement dans les deux passages de rotation, le détecteur excentré (2) étant positionné de manière asymétrique par rapport à un rayon central du faisceau de rayons X et une direction d'un décalage du détecteur étant inversée entre les passages, et
dans lequel le dispositif est configuré pour la pondération de redondance des données de projection par rapport à l'acquisition redondante des valeurs de projection pendant chacun des passages de rotation
en utilisant une fonction de pondération de redondance, les fonctions de pondération de redondance étant déterminées sur la base d'une union des arcs (401, 402).
 
2. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le dispositif est configuré pour déterminer la fonction de pondération de redondance sur la base d'un paramètre représentant une longueur de l'union des arcs (401, 402).
 
3. Dispositif selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le paramètre est pré-stocké dans le dispositif pour les positions nominales de la source de rayons X (1) au début et à la fin des premier et second passages de rotation sur la base d'une valeur du paramètre déterminée empiriquement pour les positions nominales.
 
4. Dispositif selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le paramètre est déterminé sur la base des positions mesurées de la source de rayons X (1) au début et à la fin de chaque passage de rotation.
 
5. Dispositif selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le dispositif est configuré pour utiliser une valeur estimée du paramètre, qui représente une longueur estimée de l'union des arcs (401, 402) étant égale ou supérieure à l'union des arcs réels (401, 402).
 
6. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la fonction de pondération correspond à une fonction de pondération de Parker.
 
7. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le faisceau de rayons X divergent incident sur le détecteur excentré (1) comporte un angle d'ouverture qui correspond à la somme d'un premier angle d'ouverture (δL) et d'un second angle d'ouverture (δL) entre les rayons de bordure (201a, 201b) et un rayon central (202), et dans lequel le point focal (203) du faisceau de rayons X est pivoté selon un angle de rotation étant égal ou supérieur à la somme de 180° et au double du plus grand angle d'ouverture (δL), à chaque passage de rotation.
 
8. Dispositif selon la revendication 7, dans lequel les angles de rotation nominaux du point focal (203) du faisceau de rayons X, pendant les premier et second passages de rotation, se correspondent.
 
9. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le décalage du détecteur comporte une première direction et une première amplitude pendant le premier passage de rotation et une seconde direction et une seconde amplitude pendant le second passage de rotation, la seconde amplitude correspondant à la première amplitude et la seconde direction étant opposée à la première direction.
 
10. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la source de rayons X (1) est pivotée dans une première direction pendant le premier passage de rotation et dans une seconde direction pendant le second passage de rotation, la seconde direction étant opposée à la première direction.
 
11. Dispositif selon la revendication 10, dans lequel une position de départ nominale du second passage de rotation correspond à une position de fin nominale du premier passage de rotation.
 
12. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le dispositif est de plus configuré pour la pondération de redondance des données de projection par rapport à une redondance due à une acquisition des mêmes valeurs de projection dans les deux passages de rotation.
 
13. Dispositif selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le faisceau de rayons X divergent est configuré comme un faisceau en éventail ou un faisceau conique.
 
14. Procédé de reconstruction par tomographie à rayons X à détecteur excentré d'une image d'un objet sur la base de données de projection,
dans lequel les données de projection ont été acquises au moyen du détecteur excentré (2) pendant une rotation d'une source de rayons X (1) et du détecteur excentré (2) autour de l'objet en deux passages de rotation de moins de 360°, la source de rayons X (1) générant un faisceau de rayons X divergent ayant un point focal (203) et le point focal (203) se déplaçant le long d'arcs (401, 402) se chevauchant principalement dans les deux passages de rotation, le détecteur excentré (2) étant positionné de manière asymétrique par rapport à un rayon central du faisceau de rayons X et une direction d'un décalage du détecteur étant inversée entre les passages, et
dans lequel le procédé comprend une pondération de redondance des données de projection par rapport à l'acquisition redondante des valeurs de projection pendant chacun des passages de rotation en utilisant une fonction de pondération de redondance, les fonctions de pondération de redondance étant déterminées sur la base d'une union des arcs.
 
15. Programme informatique pour la reconstruction par tomographie à rayons X à détecteur excentré, comprenant des moyens de code de programme pour permettre à un ordinateur d'exécuter un procédé tel que défini dans la revendication 14 lorsque le programme informatique est lancé sur l'ordinateur.
 




Drawing















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




Non-patent literature cited in the description