Multi-energy inter-pixel coincidence counters for charge sharing correction and compensation in photon counting detectors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Smaller pixel sizes of x-ray photon counting detectors (PCDs) are advantageous for count rate capabilities but disadvantageous for charge sharing. With charge sharing, the energy of an x-ray photon may be split and one photon may produce two or more counts at adjacent pixels, both at lower energies than the incident energy. This “double-counting” increases noise variance and degrades the spectral response. Overall, it has a significantly negative impact on the performance of PCD-based computed tomography (CT). Charge sharing is induced by the detection physics and occurs regardless of count rates; thus, it is impossible to avoid. We propose in this paper a method that has a potential to address both noise and bias added by charge sharing. Methods: We propose applying a multi-energy inter-pixel coincidence counter (MEICC) technique, which uses energy-dependent coincidence counters, keeps the book of charge sharing events during data acquisition, and provides the exact number of charge sharing occurrences, which can be used to either correct or compensate for them after the acquisition is completed. MEICC does not interfere with the primary counting process; therefore, PCDs with MEICC will remain as fast as those without MEICC. MEICC can be implemented using current electronics technology because its inter-pixel coincidence counters used to handle digital data are rather simple. We evaluated Cramér–Rao lower bound (CRLB) of PCDs with and without MEICC using a Monte Carlo simulation. Results: When the number of energy windows was four or larger and eight neighboring pixels were used, the CRLBs of 225-µm PCD with MEICC normalized by those of the current PCD with the same number of windows were 0.361–0.383 for water density images of two basis functions, which was only 5.7–16.4% worse than those of a PCD without charge sharing (which were at 0.329–0.358). In contrast, the normalized CRLBs of the PCD with one coincidence counter were 0.466–0.499, which were 37.3–45.6% worse than the PCD without charge sharing. The use of eight neighboring pixels provided ~10% better CRLB values than four neighboring pixels for MEICC. With four energy windows, decreasing the number of coincidence counters from 16 to 9 only slightly increased the CRLB from 0.255 to 0.269 (which corresponded to as little as a 5.5% change). The normalized CRLBs of MEICC for K-edge imaging (gold) were 0.295–0.426, while those of the one coincidence counter were 0.926–0.959 and the ideal PCDs were 0.126–0.146. Conclusions: The proposed MEICC provides spectral information that can be used to address charge sharing problems in PCDs and is expected to satisfy the requirements for clinical x-ray CT. MEICC is very effective, especially for K-edge imaging, which requires accurate spectral information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2085-2098
Number of pages14
JournalMedical physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • charge sharing
  • computed tomography
  • photon counting
  • spectral response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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