Friday 31 January 2014
to 15:00 at
Ulf Lundström (Biomedical and X-ray physics, KTH)
Phase-contrast x-ray imaging is an emerging technology, which allows for imaging of smaller features than conventional absorption-based x-ray imaging, with lower radiation dose. Instead of the attenuation that is normally used in x-ray imaging, it utilizes the phase shift introduced by an object to the transmitted x-rays. This phase shift can change the directions of the x-rays slightly, which can be measured in a few different ways. Propagation-based phase contrast, which is the method most used in this Thesis, detects these deviations using a high-resolution imaging detector at a distance from the sample. This Thesis describes how phase-contrast x-ray imaging can be used to image the internal structures of small animals like mice and rats. A technique for imaging of very small blood vessels has been developed and analyzed. By injecting a gas, such as carbon dioxide, into the vascular system, blood vessels down to 8 µm in diameter have been visualized. This is considerably smaller than the 50 µm vessels that can be imaged using iodine-based contrast agents at radiation doses compatible with living animals. A recently invented type of x-ray source, based on a jet of liquid metal as electron-beam target, has been used and further developed for the imaging purposes of this Thesis. Such metal-jet x-ray sources provide very high x-ray flux for the small x-ray spot sizes at which they operate, something that has been crucial for the quality of the phase-contrast images acquired.