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Advantages and Disadvantages of Flat Panel Detector

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Have you ever wondered what benefits a flat panel detector can offer your X-ray inspection aspirations? 

A flat panel detector is a part of an X-ray imaging system that ensures images of the test samples are detected and formed from the remaining X-ray beams passing through the test samples. However, these devices use underlying principles to achieve good quality images that make analysis and results of X-ray testing more accurate, especially for digital images. But are there drawbacks of using flat panel detectors? 

This article aims to give you all the necessary information about the merits and demerits of using a flat panel detector.

Want to know more? Then let’s dive in. 


Advantages of Flat Panel Detector

Flat-panel detectors are the modern version of X-ray film imaging and have become recognized for the many benefits over X-ray film plates. Here are some of the advantages highlighted below.


  • High Sensitivity

Flat-panel detectors are generally more sensitive than their analog film counterpart, with the sensitive part of a flat panel detector known as the pixel array. This sensitive part contains thousands of pixels that help generate the details of the image of the test samples. Also, this sensitivity helps it respond to the smallest measurable value in any X-ray absorption simultaneously, allowing for lower radiation exposure.


  • Short Processing Time

Due to the high sensitivity of flat panel detectors, which makes it easy to detect X-ray beams passing through test samples, the processing time to generate an image, therefore, becomes faster. This time is often way shorter than generating an image with a film plate which goes through a lengthy process, including lightroom image development.


  • Low Geometric Distortion

Compared to other forms of image detection devices like X-ray image intensifiers, flat-panel detectors often keep the image geometry intact better with very minimal distortions to the image geometry. The image produced with a flat panel detector has no veiling glare, maintaining uniformity.


  • Better Image Quality

Flat-panel detectors offer a wider field of view thanks to their precision imaging capabilities. Even when resolution varies from model-to-model flat panel detectors still provide more consistent, high-quality imaging with additional grayscale. This high-quality image is central to accurate analysis and identification of flaws within the test samples, even for tiny defects.


Advantages And Disadvantages Of Flat Panel Detector


  • Reduced Operating Cost

Unlike their older counterparts, the image intensifier, flat-panel detectors require fewer repairs even though the initial cost may be more. When comparing medium to long-term maintenance, savings can be achieved when looking out for flat-panel detectors. This advantage is due to the fact that flat panel detectors have been more accessible over the years, which has improved its options.


  • High Conversion Efficiency

When X-ray test samples absorb radiation from the X-ray tube, the remaining unabsorbed X-ray beam reaches the image detector, which is converted to an image of the test sample. The efficiency of converting X-ray beams reaching the flat panel detector is relatively high when compared to counterparts like the X-ray image intensifiers. This high conversion efficiency also leads to high result accuracy.


  • The Ability for Software Processing

Compatible software can be installed with flat-panel detectors to enhance images, edge detection, and internal structure analysis. This integration makes image generation very fast and reduces errors due to the human interface.


Disadvantages of Flat Panel Detector

The flat panel detector is not without some demerits, which should be considered carefully when purchasing one.


  • Higher Cost

Relative to other image detection devices like X-ray image intensifiers and film plates, the initial cost of purchasing a flat panel detector can be high. However, the long-term maintenance cost is low, which gives you more savings over time.


  • Limited Spatial Resolution

Spatial resolution in flat panel detectors is influenced by the size of its detector elements and by a process called binning. Flat detectors do not support optical zoom, and one may conclude that manufacturers of flat panel detector arrays should reduce the size of the detector element to improve spatial resolution.


  • Real-Time System has Poorer Low Exposure Performance

The image doesn’t seem to come out well for the flat panel detector when the exposure is low and might require increasing the exposure intensity to get some substantial image quality.



To wrap up, the flat panel has generally replaced other forms of image detecting systems like film plates and image intensifiers. The reason is the numerous advantages of flat panel detectors over their counterparts, including low maintenance cost, high sensitivity, high-quality images, and fast processing times. However, this does not mean the flat panel detector has shortcomings like the high initial cost of purchase, limited spatial resolution, and poor performance during low-exposure situations. Nonetheless, the merits surpass the demerits, and its cost-to-benefit ratio makes it a preferred choice for X-ray image detection and formation.

It is expedient therefore to carefully consider these factors when in the market to purchase a flat-panel detector.


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