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The detective quantum efficiency (DQE) is generally accepted as the primary metric of signal-to-noise performance in medical X-ray imaging systems. Simple theoretical models of the Wiener noise power spectrum (NPS) and DQE can be developed using a cascaded-systems approach to assess particular system designs and establish operational benchmarks. However, the cascaded approach is often impractical for the development of comprehensive models due to the complexity and extremely large number of algebraic terms that must be manipulated to describe signal and noise transfer. We have developed a computational engine that overcomes this limitation. Using a predefined library of elementary physical processes, complex models are assembled and input-output relationships established using a graphical interface. A novel recursive algorithm is described that allows the signal and noise analyses of models with arbitrary complexity including the use of multiple parallel cascades. Symbolic mathematics is used to develop analytic expressions for the NPS and DQE. The algorithm is validated by manual calculation for simple models and by Monte Carlo calculation for complex models. We believe our approach enables the use of complex cascaded models to design better detectors with improved image quality.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2005