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Relative stopping power resolution in time-of-flight proton CT

Abstract : Abstract Objective Proton computed tomography (CT) is similar to x-ray CT but relies on protons rather than photons to form an image. In its most common operation mode, the measured quantity is the amount of energy that a proton has lost while traversing the imaged object from which a relative stopping power map can be obtained via tomographic reconstruction. To this end, a calorimeter which measures the energy deposited by protons downstream of the scanned object has been studied or implemented as energy detector in several proton CT prototypes. An alternative method is to measure the proton’s residual velocity and thus its kinetic energy via the time of flight (TOF) between at least two sensor planes. In this work, we study the RSP resolution, seen as image noise, which can be expected from TOF proton CT systems. Approach We rely on physics models on the one hand and statistical models of the relevant uncertainties on the other to derive closed form expressions for the noise in projection images. The TOF measurement error scales with the distance between the TOF sensor planes and is reported as velocity error in ps/m. We use variance reconstruction to obtain noise maps of a water cylinder phantom given the scanner characteristics and additionally reconstruct noise maps for a calorimeter-based proton CT system as reference. We use Monte Carlo simulations to verify our model and to estimate the noise due to multiple Coulomb scattering inside the object. We also provide a comparison of TOF helium and proton CT. Main results We find that TOF proton CT with 30 ps/m velocity error reaches similar image noise as a calorimeter-based proton CT system with 1% energy error (1 sigma error). A TOF proton CT system with a 50 ps/m velocity error produces slightly less noise than a 2% calorimeter system. Noise in a reconstructed TOF proton CT image is spatially inho- mogeneous with a marked increase towards the object periphery. Our modelled noise was consistent with Monte Carlo simulated images. TOF helium CT offers lower RSP noise at equal fluence, but is less advantageous at equal imaging dose. Significance This systematic study of image noise in TOF proton CT can serve as a guide for future developments of this alternative solution for estimating the residual energy of protons and helium ions after the scanned object.
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Contributor : Simon Rit Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 11:14:53 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, September 24, 2022 - 2:44:05 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, August 30, 2022 - 10:13:21 AM


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Nils Krah, Denis Dauvergne, Jean Michel Létang, Simon Rit, Etienne Testa. Relative stopping power resolution in time-of-flight proton CT. Physics in Medicine and Biology, IOP Publishing, 2022, 67 (16), pp.165004. ⟨10.1088/1361-6560/ac7191⟩. ⟨hal-03677847⟩



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