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DR Panel Pixel Pitch: What Is It and How Important Is It?

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As you begin looking into the best DR panel to complement your X-ray system, one feature you're sure to come across in the market is pixel pitch. Every DR panel's specifications list it but, as the title of this article asks, what is pixel pitch and how important is it?

Keep reading to find out exactly how the pixel pitch of a DR panel should affect your purchasing decision.

What Is Pixel Pitch?

This may not be your first encounter with pixel pitch. The last time you headed to your local electronics dealer to upgrade your TV or get a new monitor for your computer, you may have seen similar specifications, or you may have just picked the one that you thought looked best out on the floor. Whether you made note of it or not, pixel pitch played a part in creating the image that caught your eye so well.    

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next. The lower the pixel pitch number, the closer the pixels, and the sharper the image. In the case of your TV or monitor, the distance being measured is between LED pixels. In a DR panel, the distance is between photon-detecting pixels, but the principle is basically the same.

How Important Is Pixel Pitch?

Inside a DR panel, phosphors such as gadolinium oxysulfide or cesium iodide (GadOx or CsI) produce light after interacting with X-rays. This light is then captured by an array of photon-detecting pixels. The panel with the tightest-packed pixels (i.e. the lowest pixel pitch) captures more light and will have an advantage in image clarity and detail. The real question is- how much of an advantage?

Pixel pitch is measured in µm – micro millimeters, which are each 1/1000 of a millimeter. Currently the pixel pitch range of commercial available DR panels is between 129-140 µm. While this is a significant difference on paper (8%), every account we've heard, from users, installers, and manufacturers alike says the difference is not particularly noticeable in practice. Anecdotal? Perhaps, but the experience of others in the market is still a valuable tool when considering a purchase.

With a wide variety of DR panel detectors available, making the best selection for your clinic or practice is challenging enough without trying to match all your other needs up with a specific pixel pitch. Ultimately, we won't say to ignore pixel pitch altogether, but it is just one of several technical specifications that interact to produce overall image quality. Our recommendation: keep it in mind as you do your homework, but don't consider it a leading indicator of what to expect from a given DR panel.

If you need a hand along the way, we're standing by to help. Feel free to contact an X-ray Product Specialist here at Block to learn more about your options.