Quantitative investigation of the edge enhancement in in-line phase contrast projections and tomosynthesis provided by distributing microbubbles on the interface between two tissues: A phantom study

Academic Article


  • © 2017 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. The objective of this study was to quantitatively investigate the ability to distribute microbubbles along the interface between two tissues, in an effort to improve the edge and/or boundary features in phase contrast imaging. The experiments were conducted by employing a custom designed tissue simulating phantom, which also simulated a clinical condition where the ligand-targeted microbubbles are self-aggregated on the endothelium of blood vessels surrounding malignant cells. Four different concentrations of microbubble suspensions were injected into the phantom: 0%, 0.1%, 0.2%, and 0.4%. A time delay of 5 min was implemented before image acquisition to allow the microbubbles to become distributed at the interface between the acrylic and the cavity simulating a blood vessel segment. For comparison purposes, images were acquired using three system configurations for both projection and tomosynthesis imaging with a fixed radiation dose delivery: Conventional low-energy contact mode, low-energy in-line phase contrast and high-energy in-line phase contrast. The resultant images illustrate the edge feature enhancements in the in-line phase contrast imaging mode when the microbubble concentration is extremely low. The quantitative edge-enhancement-to-noise ratio calculations not only agree with the direct image observations, but also indicate that the edge feature enhancement can be improved by increasing the microbubble concentration. In addition, high-energy in-line phase contrast imaging provided better performance in detecting low-concentration microbubble distributions.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wu D; Wong MD; Li Y; Fajardo L; Zheng B; Wu X; Liu H
  • Start Page

  • 9357
  • End Page

  • 9376
  • Volume

  • 62
  • Issue

  • 24