Since its creation almost half a century ago, the computed tomography (CT) scanner remains a valuable tool for patient diagnosis and management. This diagnostic imaging device has become a mainstay in any healthcare setting, be it in hospitals, physician offices, or outpatient clinics.
The CT scanner is easily one of the most important tools in medicine—and it shows no signs of becoming obsolete anytime soon! In fact, every year brings new advancements in CT technology—the world of medicine has witnessed groundbreaking improvements in speed, radiation dose, image quality, and most importantly, the slice count.
Why the “Slice Count” Counts
Slice count is most often the primary specification mentioned when it comes to CT scanners due to its importance. The number of data slices is an essential factor to consider, as it dramatically affects the price and performance of the equipment.
A higher slice count can reduce the scan time and produce a higher picture resolution—but a lower slice count is sufficient for many practices and imaging centers. Whatever your CT scanner’s slice count is, it will be able to do well in various environments, given that its detector array is working well.
The Importance of the Detector Array
You can’t talk about CT parts without mentioning the detector array, as this component is crucial to the performance of the imaging device. It works by sensing the X-ray radiation and converting them into a digital signal.
The powerful image processor will then reconstruct the information contained in the digital signal. From contiguous projections of X-ray image data, they are then rendered as 3D volumes of the patient’s organs and tissues.
To put it simply, the detector array converts the X-ray radiation into a digital signal, which will be converted into the images that the doctors analyze to make accurate diagnoses. Without the digital array—the CT scanner’s heart—there will be no images to produce, hence no diagnosis!
Single-slice scanners had one row of detectors, but today, all scanners are multi-slice and have 8 to 64 detectors, with 1000 to 2000 of them in each row.
When choosing a CT scanner, you must make sure that your detectors have the following characteristics:
- Dynamic range
- High speed
- Detector pitch
- High sensitivity
- Low noise
Main Elements of the Detector Array
The detector array is a crucial CT part composed of an assembly of optoelectronic components. Without these elements, it will not be able to provide the low-noise and high-precision operation needed. A well-functioning detector array must have the following:
This is a luminescent material that converts linearly high-energy radiation like X-rays or gamma-rays into visible light.
The photodiode array is made up of photodiode elements or pixels, which generate an electrical current in response to the light originating from the scintillator.
This highly integrated semiconductor converts the electrical current generated by the photodiode array into a digital signal representation and then processed by an image reconstructor.
Low Noise Floor
The low noise floor allows the detector to capture weak inputs and maintain high contrast between weak and strong intensities. The scanner is made much safer for the patient because a low-noise detector allows for lower radiation doses.
Whether you’re just about to purchase a new CT scanner for your healthcare facility or are going to replace a few CT parts, you should never forget to consider the detector array. When you have imaging equipment with the slice count that you need, you’ll be able to serve your patients better!
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