Spectral propagation-based X-ray phase-contrast imaging

Florian Schaff, Kaye S. Morgan, David M. Paganin, Marcus J. Kitchen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

2 Citations (Scopus)


Propagation-based imaging is an X-ray phase-contrast method that does not require any additional optical elements in the imaging system. Instead, phase-contrast effects are observed as measurable intensity variations after an incident X-ray wave field has propagated some distance between the object and plane of detection. Subsequent phase-retrieval processing of the recorded images is a necessary step in order to obtain quantitative information and can greatly increase the image signal-to-noise ratio, in particular in computed tomography. Most commonly this is done by approximating the object as a single material, which cannot always be justified. An example of this is the presence of bones and soft-tissues in biomedical imaging, which motivated the work presented here. We developed the combination of spectral X-ray imaging and propagation-based X-ray phasecontrast imaging to overcome the limitations of a single-material approximation. The addition of spectral data enables phase-retrieval on multi-material objects, as well as the use of processing methods well-known from conventional dual-energy imaging, such as material decomposition, virtual monochromatic images and effective atomic-number mapping. Here, we present first computed tomography results of spectral propagation-based phase-contrast. We discuss how the phase retrieval process can be interpreted as low- and high-pass filters. Lastly, we take a look at current and future technological challenges, and the potential application areas of spectral propagation-based phase-contrast imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography XIII
EditorsBert Muller, Ge Wang
Place of PublicationWashington USA
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781510645196
ISBN (Print)9781510645189
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2021
EventDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography XIII 2021 - San Diego, United States of America
Duration: 1 Aug 20215 Aug 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography XIII 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CitySan Diego


  • Material decomposition
  • Phase retrieval
  • Propagation-based X-ray phase-contrast

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