Improvement in CT image resolution due to the use of focal spot deflection and increased sampling

Nicholas Rubert*, Timothy Szczykutowicz, Frank Ranallo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


When patient anatomy is positioned away from a CT scanner's isocenter, scans of limited diagnostic value may result. Yet in some cases, positioning of patient anatomy far from isocenter is unavoidable. This study examines the effect of position and reconstruction algorithm on image resolution achieved by a CT scanner operating in a high resolution (HR) scan mode which incorporates focal spot deflection and acquires an increased number of projections per rotation. Images of a metal bead contained in a phantom were acquired on a GE CT750 HD scanner with multiple reconstruction algorithms, in the normal and HR scan mode, and at two positions, scanner isocenter and 15 cm directly above isocenter. The images of the metal bead yielded two-dimensional point spread functions which were averaged along two perpendicular directions to yield line spread functions. Fourier transforms of the line spread functions yielded radial and azimuthal modulation transfer functions (MTFs). At isocenter, the radial and azimuthal MTFs were averaged. MTF improvement depended on image position and modulation direction. The results from a single algorithm, Edge, can be generalized to other algorithms. At isocenter, the 10% MTF cutoff was 14.4 cycles/cm in normal and HR mode. At 15 cm above isocenter, the 10% cutoff was 6.0 and 8.5 cycles/cm for the azimuthal and radial MTFs in normal mode. In HR mode, the azimuthal and radial MTF 10% cutoff was 8.3 and 10.3 cycles/cm. Our results indicate that the best image resolution is achieved at scanner isocenter and that the azimuthal resolution degrades more significantly than the radial resolution. For the GE CT750 HD CT scanner, the resolution is significantly enhanced by the HR scan mode away from scanner isocenter, and the use of the HR scan mode has much more of an impact on image resolution away from isocenter than the choice of algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)452-466
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


  • Focal spot deflection
  • High definition
  • MTF
  • Resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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