Quantification of the effect of kVp on edge-enhancement index in phase-contrast radiography

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Abstract

This study was performed to measure the dependence of edge-enhancement in polychromatic phase-contrast radiography on x-ray tube operating voltage. Measurements of edge enhancement were made at tube voltages from 40 to 86 kVp using a tungsten anode x-ray tube with a nominal focal spot size of 100 micrometers. A relatively weak attenuating, sharp edge consisting of a thin lucite sheet (3 mm) in air was imaged utilizing phase-contrast radiography (PC-R). PC-R images were acquired at different radiographic techniques in which x-ray tube voltage was varied from 40 to 86 kVp. The image receptor was a single emulsion x-ray mammography cassette. Optical density profiles across the edge of the object were obtained using a film digitizer and edge-enhancement indices were calculated. Increasing kVp resulted in a gradual decrease of the edge-enhancement index. Even at the highest kVp (86), however, important edge-enhancement effects were evident. While there is some degradation in the edge-enhancement effect of phase-contrast radiography at higher kVps, the decrease from 40 to 86 kVp is relatively small (11%). Our results suggest that further investigation into the role of phase-contrast imaging at higher kVp values for the purpose of patient dose reduction while still realizing the advantage of phase-contrast effects for improved soft-tissue detectability is warranted.

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