Characterization of tissue via coherent to Compton scattering ratio: Sensitivity considerations

Andrew Karellas, Isaac Leichter, J. D. Craven, M. A. Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


It is known that the ratio (R) of the detected coherent and Compton scattered photons from bone can be used in order to determine its mineral density. This technique utilizes the dependence of the coherent scattering on the effective atomic number (ZÌ„) of the scattering medium. It is generally accepted that a small scatter angle is preferred in order to ensure adequate counting statistics by favoring the detection of more coherent photons. Moreover, it has been assumed that a change in the scatter angle does not affect the sensitivity of the measurement. Our theoretical calculations for 60 keV photons and for the range of ZÌ„ that corresponds to trabecular bone, indicate that increasing the scatter angle results in a stronger power dependence of the measured ratio on ZÌ„. This implies that by increasing the scatter angle, smaller changes in the mineral density can be detected, thus improving the sensitivity of the measurement. This effect was investigated experimentally by using a collimated beam of 59.54 keV photons from Am 241 (44.4 GBq) and a collimated intrinsic germanium detector. Solutions of K2HPO4 with different concentrations were used in order to simulate trabecular bone. The scatter spectra were recorded for all solutions at six scatter angles between 37° and 98° and the value of R was computed for each spectrum. The sensitivity of the measurement, evaluated from these experiments increased, with the increase of the scatter angle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-609
Number of pages5
JournalMedical physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1983


  • angular distribution
  • chemical composition
  • coherent scattering
  • compton effect
  • cross sections
  • energy spectra
  • kev range 10−100
  • phantoms
  • potassium phosphates
  • scattering
  • sensitivity
  • skeleton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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