Analyzer-free hard x-ray interferometry

M. Bertilson, O. von Hofsten, J. S. Maltz, K. Taphorn, J. Herzen, M. Danielsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective. To enable practical interferometry-based phase contrast CT using standard incoherent x-ray sources, we propose an imaging system where the analyzer grating is replaced by a high-resolution detector. Since there is no need to perform multiple exposures (with the analyzer grating at different positions) at each scan angle, this scheme is compatible with continuous-rotation CT apparatus, and has the potential to reduce patient radiation dose and patient motion artifacts. Approach. Grating-based x-ray interferometry is a well-studied technique for imaging soft tissues and highly scattering objects embedded in such tissues. In addition to the traditional x-ray absorption-based image, this technique allows reconstruction of the object phase and small-angle scattering information. When using conventional incoherent, polychromatic, hard x-ray tubes as sources, three gratings are usually employed. To sufficiently resolve the pattern generated in these interferometers with contemporary x-ray detectors, an analyzer grating is used, and consequently multiple images need to be acquired for each view angle. This adds complexity to the imaging system, slows image acquisition and thus increases sensitivity to patient motion, and is not dose efficient. By simulating image formation based on wave propagation, and proposing a novel phase retrieval algorithm based on a virtual grating, we assess the potential of a analyzer-grating-free system to overcome these limitations. Main results. We demonstrate that the removal of the analyzer-grating can produce equal image contrast-to-noise ratio at reduced dose (by a factor of 5), without prolonging scan duration. Significance. By demonstrating that an analyzer-free CT system, in conjuction with an efficient phase retrieval algorithm, can overcome the prohibitive dose and workflow penalties associated grating-stepping, an alternative path towards realizing clinical inteferometric CT appears possible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045011
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 21 Feb 2024


  • computed tomography
  • high resolution x-ray detectors
  • x-ray interferometry
  • x-ray phase contrast


Dive into the research topics of 'Analyzer-free hard x-ray interferometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this