Oliva, Piernicola and Golosio, Bruno and Stumbo, Simone and Bravin, Alberto and Tomassini, Paolo (2009) Compact x-ray sources for mammographic applications: Monte Carlo simulations of image quality. Medical Physics, Vol. 36 (11), p. 5149-5161. ISSN 0094-2405. Article.
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Thomson scattering x-ray sources can provide spectral distributions that are ideally suited for mammography with sufficient fluence rates. In this article, the authors investigate the effects of different spectral distributions on the image quality in simulated images of a breast mammographic phantom containing details of different compositions and thicknesses. They simulated monochromatic, quasimonochromatic, and polychromatic x-ray sources in order to define the energy for maximum figure of merit (signal-difference-to-noise ratio squared/mean glandular dose), the effect of an energy spread, and the effect of the presence of higher-order harmonics. The advantages of these sources with respect to conventional polychromatic sources as a function of phantom and detail thickness were also investigated. The results show that the energy for the figure of merit peak is between 16 and 27.4 keV, depending on the phantom thickness and detail composition and thickness. An energy spread of about 1 keV standard deviation, easily achievable with compact x-ray sources, does not appreciably affect the image quality.
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