In this abstract we describe the first non-interferometric x-ray phase contrast imaging (PCI) method that uses only a single-measurement step to retrieve with quantitative accuracy absorption, phase and differential phase. Our approach is based on utilizing spectral information from photon counting spectral detectors in conjunction with a coded aperture PCI setting to simplify the x-ray “phase problem” to a one-step method. The method by virtue of being single-step with no motion of any component for a given projection image has significantly high potential to overcome the barriers currently faced by PCI.
Mathematical model observers are expected to assist in preclinical optimization of image acquisition and reconstruction parameters. A clinically realistic and robust model observer platform could help in multiparameter optimizations without requiring frequent human-observer validations. We are developing search-capable visual-search (VS) model observers with this potential. In this work, we present initial results on optimization of DBT scan angle and the number of projection views for low-contrast mass detection. Comparison with human-observer results shows very good agreement. These results point towards the benefits of using relatively wider arcs and low projection angles per arc degree for improved mass detection. These results are particularly interesting considering that the FDA-approved DBT systems like Hologic Selenia Dimensions uses a narrow (15-degree) acquisition arc and one projection per arc degree.
Photon counting spectral detectors (PCSD) with smaller pixels and efficient sensors are desirable in applications like material decomposition and phase contrast x-ray imaging where discrimination of small signals and fine structure may be desired. Charge sharing in PCSD increases with decreasing pixel sizes and increasing sensor thickness such that the energy calibration or utility of spectral information can become a major hurdle. Utility of a combination of high Z sensors and small pixel sizes in PCSD is limited without efficient threshold calibration and charge sharing mitigation. Here we explore the utility of x-ray tube kVp as a reference to achieve efficient and fast calibration of PCSDs. This calibration method itself does not require rearranging the imaging setup and is not impacted by charge sharing. Our preliminary results indicate that this method can be useful even in scenarios where metal fluorescence and radioactive source based calibration techniques may be practically impossible. Our results are validated using x-ray fluorescence based calibration for a Silicon detector with moderate charge sharing. Calibration of a particularly challenging case of a Medipix2 detector (55 μm pixel size) with a 1 mm thick CdTe sensor and a Medipix3 detector with CdTe sensor is also demonstrated. A cross validation with K-edge identification of Gd is also presented here.
Visual-search (VS) model observers have the potential to provide reliable predictions of human-observer performance in detection-localization tasks. The purpose of this work was to examine some characteristics of human gaze on breast images with the goal of informing the design of our VS observers. Using a helmet-mounted eye- tracking system, we recording the movement of gaze from human observers as they searched for masses in sets of 2D digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) images. The masses in this study were of a single profile. The DBT images were extracted from image volumes reconstructed with filtered back-projection and penalized maximum- likelihood methods. Fixation times associated with observer points of interest (POIs) were computed from the observer data. The fixation times were then compared to sets of morphological feature values extracted from the images. These features, extracted as cross-correlations involving the mass profile and the test image, included the matched filter (MF), gradient MF, and Laplacian MF. For this initial investigation, we computed correlation coefficients between the fixation times and the feature values.