Improving single-event proton CT by removing nuclear interaction events within the energy/range detector.
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Improving single-event proton CT by removing nuclear interaction events within the energy/range detector.

  • Author(s): Volz, Lennart
  • Piersimoni, Pierluigi
  • Johnson, Robert P
  • Bashkirov, Vladimir A
  • Schulte, Reinhard W
  • Seco, Joao
  • et al.

Data filtering is crucial for accurate relative stopping power (RSP) reconstruction in proton CT (pCT). In this work, we assess different filters and their performance in removing nuclear interactions for the US pCT collaboration prototype pCT system in Monte Carlo (MC) simulations. The potential of the recently proposed ΔE-E filter for pCT is investigated. Full pCT scans were acquired with the TOPAS MC simulated version of the prototype scanner that comprises two tracking detectors and a 5 stage energy/range detector. An ideal water cylinder and a water cylinder with 5 tissue inserts were investigated. Before image reconstruction, a 3σ WEPL filter was applied as the only filter, or in addition to filters acting on the energy deposit in each of the energy detector stages, as done currently with the prototype. The potential of the ΔE-E filter that was recently proposed for helium imaging was assessed. The results were compared to simulations for which nuclear interactions were disabled representing ground truth. The 3σ WEPL filter alone was not sufficient to filter out all nuclear interaction events and systematic fluctuations in the form of ring artifacts were present in the pCT reconstructed images. Applying energy filters currently used with the device prior to the 3σ WEPL filter only slightly improved the image quality. A 2σ WEPL filter improved the mean RSP accuracy, but could not fully remove the systematic fluctuations. The ΔE-E filter added to the current reconstruction procedure efficiently removed the systematic fluctuations and the achieved RSP accuracy closely matched the simulation without nuclear interactions. This study demonstrates the dependence of the accuracy of the usual 3σ WEPL filter on uncertainties arising within the energy detector. By enabling to remove such uncertainties, the ΔE-E method proved tor yield some potential for improving the accuracy of pCT.

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