Dual focal-spot imaging for phase extraction in phase-contrast radiography



The purpose of this study was to evaluate dual focal spot imaging as a method for extracting the phase component from a phase-contrast radiography image. All measurements were performed using a microfocus tungsten-target x-ray tube with an adjustable focal-spot size (0.01 mm to 0.045 mm). For each object, high-resolution digital radiographs were obtained with two different focal spot sizes to produce matched image pairs in which all other geometric variables as well as total exposure and tube kVp were held constant. For each image pair, a phase extraction was performed using pixel-wise division. The phase-extracted image resulted in an image similar to the standard image processing tool commonly referred to as “unsharp masking” but with the additional edge-enhancement produced by phase-contrast effects. The phase-extracted image illustrates the differences between the two images whose imaging parameters differ only in focal spot size. The resulting image shows effects from both phase contrast as well as geometric unsharpness. In weakly attenuating materials the phase-contrast effect predominates, while in strongly attenuating materials the phase effects are so small that they are not detectable. The phase-extracted image in the strongly attenuating object reflects differences in geometric unsharpness. The degree of phase extraction depends strongly on the size of the smallest focal spot used. This technique of dual-focal spot phase-contrast radiography provides a simple technique for phase-component (edge) extraction in phase-contrast radiography. In strongly attenuating materials the phase-component is overwhelmed by differences in geometric unsharpness. In these cases the technique provides a form of unsharp masking which also accentuates the edges. Thus, the two effects are complimentary and may be useful in the detection of small objects.