Modulation transfer function

Last revised by Dr Andrew Van on 13 May 2018

The modulation transfer function (MTF) is the spatial frequency response of an imaging system or a component. It is the contrast at a given spatial frequency relative to low frequencies.

On the radiogram, objects having different sizes and opacity are displayed with different gray-scale values. MTF is responsible for converting contrast values of different-sized objects (object contrast) into contrast intensity levels in the image (image contrast). For general imaging, the relevant details are in a range between 0 and 2 cycles/mm, which demands high MTF values.

In summary, MTF is the capacity of the detector to transfer the modulation of the input signal at a given spatial frequency to its output. 

MTF is a useful measure of true or effective resolution, since it accounts for the amount of blur and contrast over a range of spatial frequencies. 

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