The point spread function of spiral CT

Gil Schwarzband*, Nahum Kiryati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Computed tomography (CT) scanners are usually described by their in-plane resolution and slice-sensitivity profile (SSP). Other imaging systems are characterized by their point spread function (PSF). The PSF is an excellent basis for the analysis, design and enhancement of imaging systems. The 3D PSF of CT systems has rarely been considered, and has usually been approximated by a 3D Gaussian. We present mathematical analysis of the PSF of single-slice and multi-slice fan-beam and cone-beam CT, for major reconstruction algorithms. We show that the PSF has a complicated, non-separable 3D shape. It is anisotropic in the xy plane and twisted in the z direction. Furthermore, the PSF is space variant in all three axes. In particular, it rotates as the input impulse function moves in the z direction. The PSF may also have effective discontinuities that can lead to streaking artefacts. Indirect measurements of the PSF can be misleading. We support the theoretical results by direct experimental measurements of the PSF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5307-5322
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number22
StatePublished - 21 Nov 2005


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