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A high resolution and high DQE detector optimized for mammography using single-shot bi-directional tri-contrast imaging

Wenbing Yun

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National Institutes of Health (NIH)
X-ray tricontrast imaging provides three different modes of contrast: absorption contrast (the mechanism behind how conventional medical X-ray imaging equipment images), phase contrast (which provides up to 1000X more contrast than absorption-based contrast for soft tissue), and scatter contrast (which provides information of features at dimensions smaller than the resolution of absorption and phase contrast). Access to all three contrast modes is widely considered one of the most exciting developments in modern X-ray physics, and has significant potential to change the face of biomedical imaging for early detection of cancer, osteoarthritis, and other soft tissue diseases. The recent development of Talbot-Lau interferometry, a grating- based technique that uses three gratings to achieve tricontrast imaging, has high potential to achieve tricontrast imaging in clinical use. However, there are several major limitations stemming from the use of two out of the three gratings. These two gratings are not entirely necessary and the removal of the gratings would still allow the technique to work, as long as substantial innovation is made to the source and to the detector. We propose to develop a high detective quantum efficiency (DQE) microstructured detector with good resolution to enable clinical Talbot interferometers without need of one of the two problematic gratings. The other grating may be removed by innovation on the source, for which we have also devised a proposal that has previously been submitted to the NIH and is awaiting a final funding decision (it received an outstanding impact score of 20). The proposed Phase I 6-month project is a proof-of-principle demonstration that the microstructured detector can be manufactured and would provide high detective quantum efficiency, and the proposed Phase II 24-month project would produce working prototypes of the detector.

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