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Computed Tomography at the Quantum Limit using Phase Contrast X-ray Imaging

Project Description

The biggest problem with X-ray imaging in diagnostic medicine is the use of potentially dangerous ionizing radiation. Researchers across the globe are exploring Phase Contrast X-ray Imaging (PCXI) techniques to revolutionise X-ray imaging for applications in diagnostic imaging, materials science and security applications [1]. PCXI modalities increase the contrast of interfaces between materials by rendering gradients in the X-ray wavefield visible. Its advent has had a profound impact in many fields of science from biomedical imaging to materials characterization for industrial research. Using synchrotron radiation, our team has shown that this sensitivity can increase the signal-to-noise ratio of 3D tomographic imaging (CT) by up to two orders of magnitude [2, 3]. Remarkably, this enables us to reduce the radiation dose by factors in the tens of thousands [4]. Our aim is to develop this technology for use on smaller X-ray sources, with the end goal of translating it for massively reducing the radiation dose in human diagnostic imaging.

This project will investigate the use of new laboratory-based, high powered, highly coherent X-ray sources for developing an ultra-low dose CT capability. These sources include the liquid metal jet anode X-ray source at Monash University. Using phase contrast images produces on these sources in combination with phase retrieval and iterative reconstruction algorithms, we aim to produce high quality 3D images of the inner structures of objects using extremely low doses of radiation.

An introduction to our research group including recent publications can be found here: https://xrayimagingmonash.wordpress.com/

Funding Notes

Applicants should hold an Honours or Master’s degree. Interested applicants must meet Monash Universities PhD entry requirements and may apply for scholarships. Scholarships cover tuition and health insurance costs (for International candidates) and provide a living stipend of AUD26,682 per year. Please see the following link: View Website

If you have any questions, please contact Dr Marcus Kitchen ().


1. Bravin, A., P. Coan, and P. Suortti, X-ray phase-contrast imaging: from pre-clinical applications towards clinics. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 2013. 58: p. R1-R35.
2. Beltran, M.A., et al., Interface-specific x-ray phase retrieval tomography of complex biological organs. Physics in Medicine and Biology, 2011. 56(23): p. 7353–7369.
3. Beltran, M.A., et al., 2D and 3D X-ray phase retrieval of multi-material objects using a single defocus distance. Optics Express, 2010. 18(7): p. 6423-6436.
4. Kitchen MJ, et al., CT dose reduction factors in the thousands using X-ray phase contrast. arXive preprint, 2017, arXiv:1704.03556.

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