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In IEEE transactions on bio-medical engineering

OBJECTIVE : The purpose of this work is to investigate the feasibility of using deep convolutional neural network (CNN) to improve the image quality of a grating-based X-ray differential phase contrast imaging (XPCI) system.

METHODS : In this work, a novel deep CNN based phase signal extraction and image noise suppression algorithm (named as XP-NET) is developed. The numerical phase phantom, the ex vivo biological specimen and the ACR breast phantom are evaluated via the numerical simulations and experimental studies, separately. Moreover, images are also evaluated under different low radiation levels to verify its dose reduction capability.

RESULTS : Compared with the conventional analytical method, the novel XP-NET algorithm is able to reduce the bias of large DPC signals and hence increasing the DPC signal accuracy by more than 15%. Additionally, the XP-NET is able to reduce DPC image noise by about 50% for low dose DPC imaging tasks.

CONCLUSION : This proposed novel end-to-end supervised XP-NET has a great potential to improve the DPC signal accuracy, reduce image noise, and preserve object details.

SIGNIFICANCE : We demonstrate that the deep CNN technique provides a promising approach to improve the grating-based XPCI performance and its dose efficiency in future biomedical applications.

Ge Yongshuai, Liu Peizhen, Ni Yifan, Chen Jianwei, Yang Jiecheng, Su Ting, Zhang Huitao, Guo Jinchuan, Zheng Hairong, Li Zhi-Cheng, Liang Dong