Monte Carlo study of x-ray detection configurations for benchtop x-ray fluorescence computed tomography of gold nanoparticle-loaded objects

Hem Moktan, Md Foiez Ahmed, Sandun Jayarathna, Luzhen Deng, Sang Hyun Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Over the last decade, the performance of benchtop x-ray fluorescence computed tomography (XFCT) systems has been significantly enhanced through hardware and software optimizations. Recent studies have indicated the need of energy-resolving pixelated/array detectors in the x-ray detection component to further improve the sensitivity and image resolution of benchtop XFCT systems while meeting the realistic constraints of dose and scan time. Thus, it is of immediate interest in the research community to conduct the following investigations: (a) delineation of strengths/weaknesses of detection configurations that incorporate pixelated/array detectors in combination with two most frequently used (parallel-hole and pinhole) collimators; (b) one-to-one comparison of their performance under identical imaging conditions of benchtop XFCT. In this study, we developed a Geant4-based Monte Carlo model to investigate the effects of the aforementioned detection configurations on the sensitivity and image resolution of a benchtop XFCT system. Using this model, we simulated the detection of x-ray fluorescence and scattered photons from gold nanoparticle-containing phantoms using energy-resolving pixelated detectors coupled with parallel-hole and pinhole collimators. Simulation results demonstrated that the detector consisting of large pixels (1 mm × 1 mm) combined with a parallel-hole collimator had better sensitivity (i.e. lower detection limit) than the detector made of smaller pixels (0.25 mm × 0.25 mm) coupled with a pinhole collimator. In comparison, although slightly less sensitive, the latter detector configuration achieved better image resolution than did the former. Thus, a detection configuration consisting of a pixelated detector with submillimeter pixels and a pinhole collimator is preferable when image resolution is critical for benchtop XFCT applications. On the other hand, the detector with larger pixels coupled with a parallel-hole collimator is better suited for benchtop XFCT applications in which higher sensitivity and shorter scan time are essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number175010
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 7 2020


  • Geant4
  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • gold nanoparticles
  • parallel-hole collimation
  • pinhole collimation
  • pixelated detectors
  • x-ray fluorescence computed tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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