Soft tissue 3D imaging in the lab through optimised propagation-based phase contrast computed tomography

Berit Zeller-Plumhoff, Joshua L. Mead, Deck Tan, Tiina Roose, Geraldine F. Clough, Richard P. Boardman, Philipp Schneider
2017 Optics Express  
Tomographic phase contrast imaging using hard X-rays is instrumental in revealing and understanding the three-dimensional (3D) anatomic structure of biological tissues. However, phase contrast imaging is often limited to synchrotron radiation sources to which access is limited and highly competitive. Therefore, it is critical to enable high-quality phase contrast tomography using lab-based X-ray sources. We present a lab-based soft tissue 3D imaging approach through optimised in-line phase
more » ... ast computed tomography, building upon and going beyond previous work of Bidola et al. [Opt Express 23(23) , 30000-30013 (2015)]. Murine soleus muscle was used as a test specimen to systemically optimise source-to-sample and sample-to-detector distances, exposure time and the critical ratio used for Paganin phase retrieval before tomographic reconstruction. Larger propagation distances combined with longer exposure times resulted in improved image quality. Whilst the contrast-to-noise ratio of lab-based phase contrast imaging was found to be lower than that of synchrotron-based imaging, important microscopic soft tissue features, such as nerves, could well be distinguished in 3D from surrounding tissue for both imaging modalities. This shows that lab-based X-ray sources present a viable alternative to synchrotron radiation sources for tomographic phase contrast imaging of soft tissues.
doi:10.1364/oe.25.033451 fatcat:s4g46lx6nzffbn6xlqch3uxjwu