Material decomposition in photon-counting-detector CT: Threshold or bin images?

Liqiang Ren, Shengzhen Tao, Cynthia H. McCollough, Lifeng Yu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Energy-resolved photon-counting-detector CT (PCD-CT) is promising for material-specific imaging of multiple contrast agents. In each PCD-CT scan, two groups of images can be reconstructed, namely threshold images and bin images, and both can be directly used for material decomposition. The performance may differ for different energy thresholds and imaging tasks and it remains unclear which group of images should be used. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the imaging performance of threshold images and bin images when they are used for a three-material decomposition task (iodine, gadolinium, and water) in PCD-CT. Material decomposition was performed in image-space by using both an ordinary least squares (OLS) method and a generalized least squares (GLS) method. Both numerical analysis and phantom experiments were conducted, which demonstrated that: 1) compared with OLS, GLS provided improved noise properties using either threshold or bin images; 2) for the GLS method, when the covariances among images are taken into account, threshold and bin images showed almost identical material-specific imaging performance. This work suggested that, when correlations among images are incorporated into material decomposition, threshold and bin images perform equivalently well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Imaging 2019
Subtitle of host publicationPhysics of Medical Imaging
EditorsTaly Gilat Schmidt, Guang-Hong Chen, Hilde Bosmans
ISBN (Electronic)9781510625433
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventMedical Imaging 2019: Physics of Medical Imaging - San Diego, United States
Duration: Feb 17 2019Feb 20 2019

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMedical Imaging 2019: Physics of Medical Imaging
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Generalized Least Squares (GLS)
  • Material Decomposition
  • Ordinary Least Squares (OLS)
  • Photon-counting-detector CT (PCD-CT)
  • Variance-covariance Matrix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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