Phase-contrast x-ray computed tomography (CT) is an emerging imaging technique that can be implemented at third-generation synchrotron radiation sources or by using a microfocus x-ray source. Promising results have recently been obtained in materials science and medicine. At the same time, the lack of a mathematical theory comparable with that of conventional CT limits the progress in this field. Such a theory is now suggested, establishing a fundamental relation between the three-dimensional Radon transform of the object function and the two-dimensional Radon transform of the phase-contrast projection. A reconstruction algorithm is derived in the form of a filtered backprojection. The filter function is given in the space and spatial-frequency domains. The theory suggested enables one to quantitatively determine the refractive index of a weakly absorbing medium from x-ray intensity data measured in the near-field region. The results of computer simulations are discussed.
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Harrison H. Barrett
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