Technical Note: Measurement of bow tie profiles in CT scanners using radiochromic film

Bruce R. Whiting, Andreea C. Dohatcu, Joshua D. Evans, David G. Politte, Jeffrey F. Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To provide a noninvasive technique to measure the intensity profile of the fan beam in a computed tomography (CT) scanner that is cost effective and easily implemented without the need to access proprietary scanner information or service modes. Methods: The fabrication of an inexpensive aperture is described, which is used to expose radiochromic film in a rotating CT gantry. A series of exposures is made, each of which is digitized on a personal computer document scanner, and the resulting data set is analyzed to produce a self-consistent calibration of relative radiation exposure. The bow tie profiles were analyzed to determine the precision of the process and were compared to two other measurement techniques, direct measurements from CT gantry detectors and a dynamic dosimeter. Results: The radiochromic film method presented here can measure radiation exposures with a precision of ∼6% root-mean-square relative error. The intensity profiles have a maximum 25% root-mean-square relative error compared with existing techniques. Conclusions: The proposed radiochromic film method for measuring bowtie profiles is an inexpensive (∼$100 USD+film costs), noninvasive method to measure the fan beam intensity profile in CT scanners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2908-2914
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • CT
  • bow tie filter
  • radiochromic film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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