Stationary intraoral digital tomosynthesis using a carbon nanotube X-ray source array

J. Shan, A. W. Tucker, L. R. Gaalaas, G. Wu, E. Platin, A. Mol, J. Lu, O. Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives: Intraoral dental tomosynthesis and closely related tuned-aperture CT (TACT) are low-dose three-dimensional (3D) imaging modalities that have shown improved detection of multiple dental diseases. Clinical interest in implementing these technologies waned owing to their time-consuming nature. Recently developed carbon nanotube (CNT) X-ray sources allow rapid multi-image acquisition without mechanical motion, making tomosynthesis a clinically viable technique. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the feasibility of and produce high-quality images from a digital tomosynthesis system employing CNT X-ray technology. Methods: A test-bed stationary intraoral tomosynthesis unit was constructed using a CNT X-ray source array and a digital intraoral sensor. The source-to-image distance was modified to make the system comparable in image resolution to current two-dimensional intraoral radiography imaging systems. Anthropomorphic phantoms containing teeth with simulated and real caries lesions were imaged using a dose comparable to D-speed film dose with a rectangular collimation. Images were reconstructed and analysed. Results: Tomosynthesis images of the phantom and teeth specimen demonstrated perceived image quality equivalent or superior to standard digital images with the added benefit of 3D information. The ability to "scroll" through slices in a buccal-lingual direction significantly improved visualization of anatomical details. In addition, the subjective visibility of dental caries was increased. Conclusions: Feasibility of the stationary intraoral tomosynthesis is demonstrated. The results show clinical promise and suitability for more robust observer and clinical studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150098
JournalDentomaxillofacial Radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2015


  • Carbon nanotube X-ray source
  • Intraoral X-ray
  • Intraoral tomosynthesis
  • Stationary tomosynthesis


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