Spectral CT is an emerging modality that uses a data acquisition scheme with varied spectral responses to provide enhanced material discrimination in addition to the structural information of conventional CT. Existing clinical and preclinical designs with this capability include kV-switching, split-filtration, and dual-layer detector systems to provide two spectral channels of projection data. In this work, we examine an alternate design based on a spatialspectral filter. This source-side filter is made up a linear array of materials that divide the incident x-ray beam into spectrally varied beamlets. This design allows for any number of spectral channels; however, each individual channel is sparse in the projection domain. Model-based iterative reconstruction methods can accommodate such sparse spatialspectral sampling patterns and allow for the incorporation of advanced regularization. With the goal of an optimized physical design, we characterize the effects of design parameters including filter tile order and filter tile width and their impact on material decomposition performance. We present results of numerical simulations that characterize the impact of each design parameter using a realistic CT geometry and noise model to demonstrate feasibility. Results for filter tile order show little change indicating that filter order is a low-priority design consideration. We observe improved performance for narrower filter widths; however, the performance drop-off is relatively flat indicating that wider filter widths are also feasible designs.
Spectral CT is an emerging modality that permits material decomposition and density estimation through the use of energy-dependent information in measurements. Direct model-based material decomposition algorithms have been developed that incorporate statistical models and advanced regularization schemes to improve density estimates and lower exposure requirements. However, understanding and control of the relationship between regularization and image properties is complex with interactions between spectral channels and material bases. In particular, regularization in one material basis can affect the image properties of other material bases, and vice versa. In this work, we derived a closed-form set of local impulse responses for the solutions to a general, regularized, model-based material decomposition (MBMD) objective. These predictors quantify both the spatial resolution in each material image as well as the influence of regularization of one material basis on other material images. This information can be used prospectively to tune regularization parameters for specific imaging goals.
Material decomposition for imaging multiple contrast agents in a single acquisition has been made possible by spectral CT: a modality which incorporates multiple photon energy spectral sensitivities into a single data collection. This work presents an investigation of a new approach to spectral CT which does not rely on energy-discriminating detectors or multiple x-ray sources. Instead, a tiled pattern of K-edge filters are placed in front of the x-ray to create spatially encoded spectra data. For improved sampling, the spatial-spectral filter is moved continuously with respect to the source. A model-based material decomposition algorithm is adopted to directly reconstruct multiple material densities from projection data that is sparse in each spectral channel. Physical effects associated with the x-ray focal spot size and motion blur for the moving filter are expected to impact overall performance. In this work, those physical effects are modeled and a performance analysis is conducted. Specifically, experiments are presented with simulated focal spot widths between 0.2 mm and 4.0 mm. Additionally, filter motion blur is simulated for a linear translation speeds between 50 mm/s and 450 mm/s. The performance differential between a 0.2 mm and a 1.0 mm focal spot is less than 15% suggesting feasibility of the approach with realistic x-ray tubes. Moreover, for reasonable filter actuation speeds, higher speeds are shown to decrease error (due to improved sampling) despite motion-based spectral blur.