A GPU Tool for Efficient, Accurate, and Realistic Simulation of Cone Beam CT Projections

Xun Jia, Hao Yan, Laura Cervino, Michael Folkerts, Steve B. Jiang
Center for Advanced Radiotherapy Technologies and Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
arXiv:1204.6367v1 [physics.med-ph] (28 Apr 2012)


   author={Jia}, X. and {Yan}, H. and {Cervino}, L. and {Folkerts}, M. and {Jiang}, S.~B.},

   title={"{A GPU Tool for Efficient, Accurate, and Realistic Simulation of Cone Beam CT Projections}"},

   journal={ArXiv e-prints},




   keywords={Physics – Medical Physics},




   adsnote={Provided by the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System}


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Simulation of x-ray projection images plays an important role in cone beam CT (CBCT) related research projects. A projection image contains primary signal, scatter signal, and noise. It is computationally demanding to perform accurate and realistic computations for all of these components. In this work, we develop a package on GPU, called gDRR, for the accurate and efficient computations of x-ray projection images in CBCT under clinically realistic conditions. The primary signal is computed by a tri-linear ray-tracing algorithm. A Monte Carlo (MC) simulation is then performed, yielding the primary signal and the scatter signal, both with noise. A denoising process is applied to obtain a smooth scatter signal. The noise component is then obtained by combining the difference between the MC primary and the ray-tracing primary signals, and the difference between the MC simulated scatter and the denoised scatter signals. Finally, a calibration step converts the calculated noise signal into a realistic one by scaling its amplitude. For a typical CBCT projection with a poly-energetic spectrum, the calculation time for the primary signal is 1.2~2.3 sec, while the MC simulations take 28.1~95.3 sec. Computation time for all other steps is negligible. The ray-tracing primary signal matches well with the primary part of the MC simulation result. The MC simulated scatter signal using gDRR is in agreement with EGSnrc results with a relative difference of 3.8%. A noise calibration process is conducted to calibrate gDRR against a real CBCT scanner. The calculated projections are accurate and realistic, such that beam-hardening artifacts and scatter artifacts can be reproduced using the simulated projections. The noise amplitudes in the CBCT images reconstructed from the simulated projections also agree with those in the measured images at corresponding mAs levels.
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