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Physical characterization and performance evaluation of an x-ray micro-computed tomography system for dimensional metrology applications

: Hiller, Jochen; Maisl, Michael; Reindl, Leonard M.


Measurement Science and Technology 23 (2012), No.8, Art. 085404, 18 pp.
ISSN: 0957-0233
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IZFP ()
X-ray computed tomography; CT; industrial CT; micro-CT; microfocus x-ray; tube; focal spot; focus drift; source movement; CT metrology; flat-panel detector; DQE; NPS; MTF; image lag; image quality; tomographic imaging; measurement uncertainty; calibrated ball-bar; uncertainty budgeting; GUM

This paper presents physical and metrological characterization measurements conducted for an industrial x-ray micro-computed tomography (CT) system. As is well known in CT metrology, many factors, e. g., in the scanning and reconstruction process, the image processing, and the 3D data evaluation, influence the dimensional measurement properties of the system as a whole. Therefore, it is important to know what leads to, and what are the consequences of, e. g., a geometrical misalignment of the scanner system, image unsharpness (blurring), or noise or image artefacts. In our study, the two main components of a CT scanner, i.e. the x-ray tube and the flat-panel detector, are characterized. The contrast and noise transfer property of the scanner is obtained using image-processing methods based on linear systems theory. A long-term temperature measurement in the scanner cabinet has been carried out. The dimensional measurement property has been quantified by using a calibrated ball-bar and uncertainty budgeting. Information about the performance of a CT scanner system in terms of contrast and noise transmission and sources of geometrical errors will help plan CT scans more efficiently. In particular, it will minimize the user's influence by a systematic line of action, taking into account the physical and technical limitations and influences on dimensional measurements.