Material Decomposition using Spectral Propagation-based Phase-contrast X-ray Imaging

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Material decomposition in X-ray imaging uses the energy-dependence of attenuation to digitally decompose an object into specific constituent materials, generally at the cost of enhanced image noise. Propagation-based X-ray phase-contrast imaging is a developing technique that can be used to reduce image noise, in particular from weakly attenuating objects. In this paper, we combine spectral phase-contrast imaging with material decomposition to both better visualize weakly attenuating features and separate them from overlying objects in radiography. We derive an algorithm that performs both tasks simultaneously and verify it against numerical simulations and experimental measurements of ideal two-component samples composed of pure aluminum and poly(methyl methacrylate). Additionally, we showcase first imaging results of a rabbit kitten's lung. The attenuation signal of a thorax, in particular, is dominated by the strongly attenuating bones of the ribcage. Combined with the weak soft tissue signal, this makes it difficult to visualize the fine anatomical structures across the whole lung. In all cases, clean material decomposition was achieved, without residual phase-contrast effects, from which we generate an un-obstructed image of the lung, free of bones. Spectral propagation-based phase-contrast imaging has the potential to be a valuable tool, not only in future lung research, but also in other systems for which phase-contrast imaging in combination with material decomposition proves to be advantageous.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3891-3899
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • phase contrast x-ray imaging
  • Phase contrast
  • Material decomposition
  • Spectral imaging
  • Attenuation
  • Lung
  • Radiography

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