Model-Based Iterative Reconstruction for Propagation-Based Phase-Contrast X-ray CT including Models for the Source and the Detector

Lorenz Hehn, Regine Gradl, Martin Dierolf, Kaye S. Morgan, David M. Paganin, Franz Pfeiffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Propagation-based phase-contrast X-ray computed tomography is a valuable tool for high-resolution visualization of biological samples, giving distinct improvements in terms of contrast and dose requirements compared to conventional attenuation-based computed tomography. Due to its ease of implementation and advances in laboratory X-ray sources, this imaging technique is increasingly being transferred from synchrotron facilities to laboratory environments. This however poses additional challenges, such as the limited spatial coherence and flux of laboratory sources, resulting in worse resolution and higher noise levels. Here we extend a previously developed iterative reconstruction algorithm for this imaging technique to include models for the reduced spatial coherence and the signal spreading of efficient scintillator-based detectors directly into the physical forward model. Furthermore, we employ a noise model which accounts for the full covariance statistics of the image formation process. In addition, we extend the model describing the interference effects such that it now matches the formalism of the widely-used single-material phase-retrieval algorithm, which is based on the sample-homogeneity assumption. We perform a simulation study as well as an experimental study at a laboratory inverse Compton source and compare our approach to the conventional analytical approaches. We find that the modeling of the source and the detector inside the physical forward model can tremendously improve the resolution at matched noise levels and that the modeling of the covariance statistics reduces overshoots (i.e. incorrect increase / decrease in sample properties) at the sample edges significantly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1975-1987
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Image reconstruction -iterative methods
  • X-ray imaging and computed tomography

Cite this