By integrating a grating-based interferometer with a clinical full field digital mammography (FFDM) system, a prototype multi-contrast (absorption, phase, and dark field) x-ray breast imaging system was developed in this work. Unlike previous benchtop-based multi-contrast x-ray imaging systems that usually have relatively long source-to-detector distance and vibration isolators or dampers for the interferometer, the FFDM hardware platform is subject to mechanical vibration and the constraint of compact system geometry. Current grating fabrication technology also imposes additional constraints on the design of the grating interferometer. Based on these technical constraints and the x-ray beam properties of the FFDM system, three gratings were designed and integrated with the FFDM system. When installing the gratings, no additional vibration damping device was used in order to test the robustness of multi-contrast imaging system against mechanical vibration. The measured visibility of the diffraction fringes was 23±3%, and two images acquired 60 minutes apart demonstrated good system reproducibility with no visible signal drift. Preliminary results generated from the prototype system demonstrate the multi-contrast imaging capability of the system. The three contrast mechanisms provide mutually complementary information of the phantom object. This prototype system provides a much needed platform for evaluating the true clinical utility of the multi-contrast x-ray imaging method for the diagnosis of breast cancer.
Ke Li, Ran Zhang, John Garrett, Yongshuai Ge, Xu Ji, and Guang-Hong Chen, "Design, construction, and initial results of a prototype multi-contrast x-ray breast imaging system," Proc. SPIE 10573, Medical Imaging 2018: Physics of Medical Imaging, 105730W (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 13, 2018; Published: 9 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293921.
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