Solid-state, flat-panel, digital radiography detectors and their physical imaging characteristics

Clin Radiol. 2008 May;63(5):487-98. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2007.10.014. Epub 2008 Jan 31.


Solid-state, digital radiography (DR) detectors, designed specifically for standard projection radiography, emerged just before the turn of the millennium. This new generation of digital image detector comprises a thin layer of x-ray absorptive material combined with an electronic active matrix array fabricated in a thin film of hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H). DR detectors can offer both efficient (low-dose) x-ray image acquisition plus on-line readout of the latent image as electronic data. To date, solid-state, flat-panel, DR detectors have come in two principal designs, the indirect-conversion (x-ray scintillator-based) and the direct-conversion (x-ray photoconductor-based) types. This review describes the underlying principles and enabling technologies exploited by these designs of detector, and evaluates their physical imaging characteristics, comparing performance both against each other and computed radiography (CR). In standard projection radiography indirect conversion DR detectors currently offer superior physical image quality and dose efficiency compared with direct conversion DR and modern point-scan CR. These conclusions have been confirmed in the findings of clinical evaluations of DR detectors. Future trends in solid-state DR detector technologies are also briefly considered. Salient innovations include WiFi-enabled, portable DR detectors, improvements in x-ray absorber layers and developments in alternative electronic media to a-Si:H.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / instrumentation*
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement / standards
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation*
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / standards
  • Technology, Radiologic / instrumentation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / standards
  • X-Ray Intensifying Screens*