Varying Collimation for Dark-Field Extraction
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Although x-ray imaging is widely used in biomedical applications, biological soft tissues have small density changes, leading to low contrast resolution for attenuation-based x-ray imaging. Over the past years, x-ray small-angle scattering was studied as a new contrast mechanism to enhance subtle structural variation within the soft tissue. In this paper, we present a detection method to extract this type of x-ray scattering data, which are also referred to as dark-field signals. The key idea is to acquire an x-ray projection multiple times with varying collimation before an x-ray detector array. The projection data acquired with a collimator of a sufficiently high collimation aspect ratio contain mainly the primary beam with little scattering, while the data acquired with an appropriately reduced collimation aspect ratio include both the primary beam and small-angle scattering signals. Then, analysis of these corresponding datasets will produce desirable dark-field signals; for example, via digitally subtraction. In the numerical experiments, the feasibility of our dark-field detection technology is demonstrated in Monte Carlo simulation. The results show that the acquired dark field signals can clearly reveal the structural information of tissues in terms of Rayleigh scattering characteristics.