Uniqueness criteria in multi-energy CT

by   Guillaume Bal, et al.

Multi-Energy Computed Tomography (ME-CT) is a medical imaging modality aiming to reconstruct the spatial density of materials from the attenuation properties of probing x-rays. For each line in two- or three-dimensional space, ME-CT measurements may be written as a nonlinear mapping from the integrals of the unknown densities of a finite number of materials along said line to an equal or larger number of energy-weighted integrals corresponding to different x-ray source energy spectra. ME-CT reconstructions may thus be decomposed as a two-step process: (i) reconstruct line integrals of the material densities from the available energy measurements; and (ii) reconstruct densities from their line integrals. Step (ii) is the standard linear x-ray CT problem whose invertibility is well-known, so this paper focuses on step (i). We show that ME-CT admits stable, global inversion provided that (a well-chosen linear transform of) the differential of the transform in step (i) satisfies appropriate orientation constraints that makes it a P-matrix. We introduce a notion of quantitative P-function that allows us to derive global stability results for ME-CT in the determined as well as over-determined (with more source energy spectra than the number of materials) cases. Numerical simulations based on standard material properties in imaging applications (of bone, water, contrast agents) and well accepted models of source energy spectra show that ME-CT is often (always in our simulations) either (i) non-globally injective because it is non-injective locally (differential not of full rank), or (ii) globally injective as soon as it is locally injective (differentials satisfy our proposed constraints).


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