A simple imaging setup based on the principle of coherence-based contrast X-ray imaging with unmonochromatized synchrotron radiation was used for studying mammographic phantom and human breast specimens. The use of unmonochromatized synchrotron radiation simplifies the instrumentation, decreases the cost and makes the procedure simpler and potentially more suitable for clinical applications. The imaging systems consisted of changeable silicon wafer attenuators, a tungsten slit system, a CdWO4 scintillator screen, a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) camera coupled to optical magnification lenses, and a personal computer. In preliminary studies, a spatial resolution test pattern and glass capillary filled with air bubbles were imaged to evaluate the resOolution characteristics and coherence-based contrast enhancement. Both the spatial resolution and image quality of the proposed system were compared with those of a conventional mammography system in order to establish the characteristic advantages of this approach. The images obtained with the proposed system showed a resolution of at least 25 µm on the test pattern with much better contrast, while the images of the capillary filled with air bubbles revealed coherence-based edge enhancement. This result shows that the coherence-based contrast imaging system, which emphasizes the refraction effect from the edge of materials of different refractive indexes, is applicable to imaging studies in fundamental medicine and biology, although further research works will be required before it can be used for clinical applications.
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