Sensitivity-based optimization for the design of a grating interferometer for clinical X-ray phase contrast mammography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An X-ray grating interferometer (GI) suitable for clinical mammography must comply with quite strict dose, scanning time and geometry limitations, while being able to detect tumors, microcalcifications and other abnormalities. Such a design task is not straightforward, since obtaining optimal phase-contrast and dark-field signals with clinically compatible doses and geometrical constraints is remarkably challenging. In this work, we present a wave propagation based optimization that uses the phase and dark-field sensitivities as figures of merit. This method was used to calculate the optimal interferometer designs for a commercial mammography setup. Its accuracy was validated by measuring the visibility of polycarbonate samples of different thicknesses on a Talbot-Lau interferometer installed on this device and considering some of the most common grating imperfections to be able to reproduce the experimental values. The optimization method outcomes indicate that small grating pitches are required to boost sensitivity in such a constrained setup and that there is a different optimal scenario for each signal type.


  • Carolina Arboleda
  • Zhentian Wang
  • Thomas Koehler
  • Gerhard Martens
  • Udo Van Stevendaal
  • Matthias Bartels
  • Pablo Villanueva-Perez
  • Ewald Roessl
  • Marco Stampanoni
External organisations
  • Paul Scherrer Institute
  • ETH Zürich
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6349-6364
Number of pages16
JournalOptics Express
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 20
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes