The Forensic Reference Phantom-a new tool for quality assurance of attenuation measurements in forensic radiology

Ruder, Thomas; Hatch, Gary M.; Ebert, Lars; Thali, Yannick; Allmendinger, Thomas; Schindera, Sebastian T.; Dalla Torre, Simon A.; Gascho, Dominic; Thali, Michael J.; Ampanozi, Garyfalia (2013). The Forensic Reference Phantom-a new tool for quality assurance of attenuation measurements in forensic radiology. Journal of Forensic Radioloy and Imaging, 1(2), pp. 51-55. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jofri.2013.03.043

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The purpose of this paper is to present the technical specifications of the Forensic Reference Phantom (FRP), to test its behavior relative to organic test materials, and discuss potential applications of the phantom in forensic radiology.
Materials and method

The FRP prototype is made of synthetic materials designed to simulate the computed tomography (CT) attenuation of water. It has six bore holes that accommodate multiuse containers. These containers were filled with test materials and scanned at 80 kVp, 120 kVp, and 140 kVp. X-ray attenuation was measured by two readers. Intra- and inter-reader reliability was assessed using the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). Significance levels between mean CT numbers at 80 kVp, 120 kVp, and 140 kVp were assessed with the Friedman-test. The T-test was used to assess significance levels between the FRP and water.

Overall mean CT numbers ranged from −3.0–3.7HU for the FRP; −1000.3–−993.5HU for air; −157.7– −108.1HU for oil; 35.5–42.0HU for musle tissue; and 1301.5–2354.8HU for cortical bone. Inter-reader and intra-reader reliability were excellent (ICC>0.994; and ICC=0.999 respectively). CT numbers were significantly different at different energy levels. There was no significant difference between the attenuation of the FRP and water.

The FRP is a new tool for quality assurance and research in forensic radiology. The mean CT attenuation of the FRP is equivalent to water. The phantom can be scanned during routine post-mortem CT to assess the composition of unidentified objects. In addition, the FRP may be used to investigate new imaging algorithms and scan protocols in forensic radiology.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology

UniBE Contributor:

Ruder, Thomas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Aisha Stefania Mzinga

Date Deposited:

11 Jun 2014 16:14

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:34

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Forensic radiology, Computed tomography, Phantom, X-ray attenuation, Virtopsy


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