A computer simulation platform for the optimization of a breast tomosynthesis system

Jun Zhou, Bo Zhao, Wei Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


In breast tomosynthesis there is a compromise between resolution, noise, and acquisition speed for a given glandular dose. The purpose of the present work is to develop a simulation platform to investigate the potential imaging performance for the many possible tomosynthesis system configurations. The simulation platform was used to investigate the dependence of image blur and signal difference to noise ratio (SDNR) for several different tomosynthesis acquisition configurations. Simulated projections of a slanted thin tungsten wire placed in different object planes were modified according to the detector's modulation transfer function (MTF), with or without pixel binning. In addition, the focal spot blur (FSB), which depends on the location of the wire, the system geometry, the source-detector movement speed, and the exposure time, was also incorporated into the projections. Both expectation maximization (EM) and filtered back projection (FBP) based algorithms were used for 3D image reconstruction. The in-plane MTF was calculated from the reconstructed image of the wire. To evaluate the noise performance, simulated noiseless projections of calcification and tumor in uniform breast tissue were modified with the noise power spectrum (NPS) calculated from a cascaded linear system model for the detector for a given x-ray dose. The SDNR of the reconstructed images was calculated with different tomosynthesis configurations, e.g., pixel binning, view number, and angular range. Our results showed that for a source-to-imager distance (SID) of 66 cm, pixel binning (2×2) caused more degradation to the in-plane MTF than the blur caused by the moving focal spot and reconstruction. The in-depth resolution can be improved by increasing the angular range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1098-1109
Number of pages12
JournalMedical physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007


  • Breast tomosynthesis
  • Computer simulation
  • EM reconstruction
  • FBP reconstruction
  • MTF
  • SDNR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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