A ghost story: Spatio-temporal response characteristics of an indirect- detection flat-panel imager

J. H. Siewerdsen, D. A. Jaffray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Spatial and temporal imaging characteristics of an amorphous silicon flat-panel imager (FPI) were investigated in terms relevant to the application of such devices in cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) and other x-ray imaging modalities, including general radiography, fluoroscopy, mammography, radiotherapy portal imaging, and nondestructive testing. Specifically, issues of image lag (including the magnitude, spatial uniformity, temporal-frequency characteristics, and dependence upon exposure and frame time) and long-term image persistence ('ghosts') were investigated. As part of the basic characterization of the FPI, pixel dark signal and noise (magnitude, temporal stability, and spatial uniformity) as well as radiation response (signal size, linearity, gain, and reciprocity) were also measured. Image lag was analyzed as a function of frame time and incident exposure. First-frame lag (i.e., the relative residual signal in the first frame following readout of an exposure) was ~2-10%, depending upon incident exposure and was spatially nonuniform to a slight degree across the FPI; second-, third-, and fourth-frame lag were ~0.7%, 0.4%, and 0.3%, respectively (at 25% sensor saturation). Image lag was also analyzed in terms of the temporal-frequency-dependent transfer function derived from the radiation response, allowing a quantitative description of system components contributing to lag. Finally, the contrast of objects as a function of time following an exposure was measured in order to examine long-term image persistence ('ghosts'). Ghosts were found to persist up to 30 min or longer, depending upon the exposure and frame time. Two means of reducing the apparent contrast of ghost images were tested: (i) rapid scanning of the FPI at maximum frame rate, and (ii) flood-field exposure of the FPI; neither was entirely satisfactory. These results pose important considerations for application of FPIs in CBCT as well as other x-ray imaging modalities. For example in CBCT, the magnitude of image lag is such that significant artifacts in tomographic reconstructions may result if strategies are not adopted either to reduce or correct the lag between successive projections (e.g., rapid scanning between projections or iterative correction algorithms, respectively). Similarly, long-term image persistence may necessitate frequent recalibration of offset corrections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1624-1641
Number of pages18
JournalMedical physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Amorphous silicon
  • Cone-beam computed tomography
  • Digital x-ray imaging
  • Flat-panel imager
  • Image lag
  • Image persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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