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X-ray micro-CT is an important imaging tool for biomedical researchers. Our group has recently proposed a hybrid “true-color” micro-CT system to improve contrast resolution with lower system cost and radiation dose. The system incorporates an energy-resolved photon-counting true-color detector into a conventional micro-CT configuration, and can be used for material decomposition. In this paper, we demonstrate an interior color-CT image reconstruction algorithm developed for this hybrid true-color micro-CT system. A compressive sensing-based statistical interior tomography method is employed to reconstruct each channel in the local spectral imaging chain, where the reconstructed global gray-scale image from the conventional imaging chain served as the initial guess. Principal component analysis was used to map the spectral reconstructions into the color space. The proposed algorithm was evaluated by numerical simulations, physical phantom experiments, and animal studies. The results confirm the merits of the proposed algorithm, and demonstrate the feasibility of the hybrid true-color micro-CT system. Additionally, a ``color diffusion'' phenomenon was observed whereby high-quality true-color images are produced not only inside the region of interest, but also in neighboring regions. It appears harnessing that this phenomenon could potentially reduce the color detector size for a given ROI, further reducing system cost and radiation dose.
Date of Publication: June 2012