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The future of the cone-beam CT

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Looking at the trend in the development of the detectors used in CBCT systems it is clear that the main goals are to shorten the acquisition time and to increase the sensitivity. The continuous growing of the active surface contributes to faster scans: the same scan range can be imaged with less number of rotations, or higher resolution can be achieved for the same field of view by increasing the magnification.
The emergence of the energy selective detectors with new crystal materials (pl. CZT, CdTe) and solid state sensors represents a dramatic change. These sensors were developed for nuclear medicine applications (PET, SPECT), therefore their spatial resolution and dynamic range should be improved in order to apply them in CT. The energy selective detectors can reduce the image noise caused by scattering and because the energy dependency of the attenuation coefficient of the materials is different, they can be separated with energy selective detection. Therefore the image quality and the currently low soft tissue contrast can be improved.
Further improvement in the image quality and even lower dose to the patient can be expected by the use of the iterative reconstruction algorithms. So far they were limited by their huge computing needs, but new graphics hardware (GPU) with high-performance parallel processing capability or computer clusters offer a solution to this problem.

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