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Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng. 2008 Jan 1;7078:707818.1-707818.12.

Development of ultrafast laser-based x-ray in-vivo phase-contrast micro-CT beamline for biomedical applications at Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS).

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Department of Physics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 13244 USA.


We are developing and exploring the imaging performance of, an in vivo, in-line holography, x-ray phase-contrast, micro-CT system with an ultrafast laser-based x-ray (ULX) source. By testing and refining our system, and by performing computer simulations, we plan to improve system performance in terms of contrast resolution and multi-energy imaging to a level beyond what can be obtained using a conventional microfocal x-ray tube. Initial CT projection sets at single energy (Mo K(alpha) and K(beta) lines) were acquired in the Fresnel regime and reconstructed for phantoms and a euthanized mouse. We also performed computer simulations of phase-contrast micro-CT scans for low-contrast, soft-tissue, tumor imaging. We determined that, in order to perform a phase-contrast, complete micro-CT scan using ULX, the following conditions must be met: (i) the x-ray source needs to be stable during the scan; (ii) the laser focal spot size needs to be less than 10 mum for source-to-object distance greater than 30 cm; (iii) the laser light intensity on the target needs to be in the range of 5 x 10(17) to 5 x 10(19) W/cm(2); (iv) the ablation protection system needs to allow uninterrupted scans; (v) the laser light focusing on the target needs to remain accurate during the entire scan; (vi) a fresh surface of the target must be exposed to consecutive laser shots during the entire scan; (vii) the effective detector element size must be less than 12 mum. Based on the results obtained in this research project, we anticipate that the new 10 Hz, 200 TW laser with 50 W average power that is being commissioned at ALLS will allow us practical implementation of in vivo x-ray phase-contrast micro-CT.

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