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Digital Imaging Systems Explained

CR --- DR  --- CMOS --- CCD

CR- Computed Radiology Portable Compact or Stationary (costs $25,000. to $40,000)
 Five Elements:
1.Phosphor Stimulable Plate (PSP) 2. Laser Scanner 
3. Photo pickup device 4. Computer  5. Software

X-Rays are projected onto PSP Plate placed inside a common cassette at a 300-400 speed technique. 

The PSP Plate recieves the x-ray exposure and stores the image projected onto it. The PSP Plate is than later scanned by the red laser inside the CR scanner. The plate will than emit a ultraviolet light each time it is scanned by the laser. The photo pickup device inside the scanner collects and reads the ultraviolet light emitted from the PSP when scanned. The photo pickup tube recieves and sends the information to an analog to digital converter, where it is read by the computer imaging software for viewing, manipulation, storage, etc.

There are more CR systems in use than all the other forms of Digital combined. CR systems produce one of the highest quality 3 -10 LP/mm resolution images in 25-50 seconds. Some CR systems are capable of producing from intra-oral dental x-rays to a 14 x 17 image, are portable and can be shared for use with more than one patient at a time by as many persons as have PSP plates(equine, small animal, mixed animal applications). They also allow lateral x-rays or any view where a normal cassette can be positioned. Service is simple and parts are the least expensive of any type of digital system.


DR - Flat Panel consisting of two varieties (Silicon & Selenium) Portable compact or Stationary (costs $75,000 to $100,000) DR Selenium with RE screen,
Five Elements: 
1. DR plate with Photo electric semi-conductor pickup cells
2. Kodak/Lanex 400 R.E. screen
3. A to D converter 
4. Computer   
5. Software


The Kodak/Lanex regular 400 speed Rare Earth screen glows when x-rays are applied. 

The image is seen by the photo electronic pickup cells, which receives and transfers the image to  the analog to digital converter. The A to D converter transforms the image from analog to digital for the computer imaging software which allows image viewing, manipulation, storage, etc.

This system will not produce any image greater than the resolution of the 400 speed is capable of.  Detailed images are limited to the size of the screen phosphor granule size.  DR systems produce a
3-5 LP/mm resolution image in 5 seconds. Will not allow intra oral dental. System can only be used  by one person at a time. They are expensive to service and parts are expensive, replacement DR plates cost $40,000. DR Selenium systems can freeze and has a  temperature limitation of 45 to 95 degrees F.

DR- Silicon Flat Panel  Portable compact or Stationary  (costs $75,000 to $100,000)
Four Elements:
1) DR plate with Silicon semi-conductors  2) Digital converter 
3) Computer  4) Software

The Silicon semi-conductor technology digital imaging plate is sensitive to the x-ray beam aerial image photons, the image information formed by the Silicon semiconductors are directly transferred to the digital converter, than sent to the computer, where it is read by the computer imaging software for viewing, manipulation, storage, etc., produces 3-5 LP/mm  of resolution. Will not allow intra-oral dental and in fixed based x-ray table installations will not allow lateral x-rays. System can only be used by one person at a time. They are expensive to service because parts are expensive, replacement DR plates cost $40,000. DR system can freze and has a temperature limitation of 45 - 95 degrees F.

Digital Image Camera CMOS Portable compact or Stationary (costs $25,000 to $50,000)
Five Elements:
1.) Image Camera (CMOS)  2.) Kodak/Lanex 200 to 600 RE screen 
3.) Analog to Digital converter  4.) Computer  5.) Software

Utilizes the latest low noise single CMOS image camera capture device. Similar to consumer electronics-digital camera, Image capture sensor. The (CMOS)  camera images a Kodak/Lanex regular speed (400 to 600) rare earth screen. The image is converted to digital in a analog to digital converter for use by the computer and imaging software for image display and manipulation.  

CMOS systems produce a 2.5 -5 LP/mm resolution image in 10-15 seconds. This system is available in light weight compact field usable version. For stationary use, it is available in a fixed based unit mounted inside the x-ray table and will not allow lateral x-rays or intra oral x-rays. System can only be used by one person at a time. No cooling required ____no mirrors.

Digital Image Camera CCD Stationary (costs $55,000 to $65,000)
Five Elements:
1.) Image Camera (CCD)  2.) Kodak/Lanex 200 to 600 RE screen 
3.) Analog to Digital converter  4.) Computer  5.) Software
6.)Mirrors 7.) CCD Chip Cooling unit

Utilizes charged coupled device,similar to consumer electronics-digital camera, Image capture sensor. The (CCD)camera images a Kodak/ Lanex regular speed(400) rare earth screen. The image is converted to digital in a analog to digital converter for use by the computer and imaging software for image display and manipulation.

CCD systems produce a 2.5-3.5 LP/mm resolution image in 10 to 15 seconds. Most are fixed based installations within x-ray table and will not allow lateral x-rays or intra oral x-rays. System can only
be used by one person at a time. They are problematic and hard to keep in tune with some systems having 40 or more cameras. This system does require additional cooling of the image camera and
utilizes mirror opticals.

Resource Tips and Tools


  1. CR vs DR
  2. Digital Imaging System Modalities with Practice Application
  3. Digital Imaging Systems Explained
  4. CR - Digital Imaging Systems - Q & A
  5. DR - Digital Imaging Systems - Q & A
  6. CMOS - Digital Imaging Systems Q & A
  7. CCD - Digital Imaging Systems Q & A
  8. DR, CCD/CMOS Image Camera Imaging Systems Explained
  9. Portable X-Ray Unit Reference Guide
  10. Ultra Light vs Other 100kV units
  11. Exposure Output Reference
  12. Portable Trade in Value Worksheet
  13. Vet Tek Comparison
  14. Technique Helpers
  15. Film Processing Troubleshooting Guide
  16. Customer X-Ray System Setup Analysis
  17. Determining Your Silver Recovery Needs
  18. Common Chemistry Problems and Solutions
  19. Grid Selection Guide
  20. Navicular, Limb, Stifle - Imaging Setup Requirements
  21. Cassettes & Screens - Customer Needs Evaluation
  22. Patient Application Guide - Green Rare earth Imaging Systems
  23. Intensifying Screen Comparison with Speed Index for Film/Screen Combination
  24. Asymmetric Rare Earth Green Screens
  25. Intensifying Screens: An Overview
  26. Portable X-Ray Unit Line Power Guide
  27. Replacing USB Board on alaraT110 CR System
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