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Multiple energy X-ray imaging of metal oxide particles inside gingival tissues


Background: Periodontal disease affects over 50% of the global population and is characterized by gingivitis as the initial sign. One dental health issue that may contribute to the development of periodontal disease is foreign body gingivitis (FBG), which can result from exposure to some kinds of foreign metal particles from dental products or food.

Objective: We design a novel, portable, affordable, multispectral X-ray and fluorescence optical microscopic imaging system dedicated to detecting and differentiating metal oxide particles in dental pathological tissues. A novel denoising algorithm is applied. We verify the feasibility and optimize the performance of the imaging system with numerical simulations.

Methods: The designed imaging system has a focused X-ray tube with tunable energy spectra and thin scintillator coupled with an optical microscope as detector. A simulated soft tissue phantom is embedded with 2-micron thick metal oxide discs as the imaged object. GATE software is used to optimize the systematic parameters such as energy bandwidth and X-ray photon number. We have also applied a novel denoising method, Noise2Sim with a two-layer UNet structure, to improve the simulated image quality.

Results: The use of an X-ray source operating with an energy bandwidth of 5 keV, X-ray photon number of 108, and an X-ray detector with a 0.5 micrometer pixel size in a 100 by 100-pixel array allowed for the detection of particles as small as 0.5 micrometer. With the Noise2Sim algorithm, the CNR has improved substantially. A typical example is that the Aluminum (Al) target's CNR is improved from 6.78 to 9.72 for the case of 108 X-ray photons with the Chromium (Cr) source of 5 keV bandwidth.

Conclusions: Different metal oxide particles were differentiated using Contrast-to-Noise ratio (CNR) by utilizing four different X-ray spectra.








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