Dual-energy computed tomography using a gantry-based preclinical cone-beam microcomputed tomography scanner
Journal of Medical Imaging
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Dual-energy microcomputed tomography (DECT) can provide quantitative information about specific materials of interest, facilitating automated segmentation, and visualization of complex three-dimensional tissues. It is possible to implement DECT on currently available preclinical gantry-based cone-beam micro-CT scanners; however, optimal decomposition image quality requires customized spectral shaping (through added filtration), optimized acquisition protocols, and elimination of misregistration artifacts. We present a method for the fabrication of customized x-ray filters - in both shape and elemental composition - needed for spectral shaping. Fiducial markers, integrated within the sample holder, were used to ensure accurate co-registration between sequential low- and high-energy image volumes. The entire acquisition process was automated through the use of a motorized filter-exchange mechanism. We describe the design, implementation, and evaluation of a DECT system on a gantry-based-preclinical cone-beam micro-CT scanner.