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New Line Contrast Figure of Merit for image quality assessment

A. Dermitzakis1, A. Daskalaki1, K. Bliznakova1 and N. Pallikarakis1

1 Biomedical Technology Unit, Dept. of Medical Physics, School of Medicine, University of Patras, Greece

Abstract— A novel Figure of Merit (FoM) is presented normalized value is calculated depicting the contrast within
which is based on analysis of data extracted from line profiles the image and at the same time evaluating the edge features
within the image. This FoM is referred as Line Contrast (LC). of the image. It is referred as Line Contrast (LC).
In order to evaluate its performance, the proposed FoM along In order to evaluate the performance of this new FoM, it
with Contrast to Noise Ratio (CNR), are applied in a simulated
phase contrast image and the resulting figures are compared.
is applied along with CNR in a simulated phase contrast
Phase contrast image is created using the XRAYImagingSimu- image of a breast like software phantom designed for phase
lator an in-house developed software platform for x-ray imag- contrast imaging applications.
ing simulation. A semi-cylindrical phantom especially designed Phase Contrast imaging (PC) is an emerging technique
for phase contrast applications that contains materials mimic- based on X-ray phase change arising from diffraction and
ing the refractive properties (indexes) of breast tissues was refraction effects that take place at the boundaries of differ-
used. Images were produced at 20 keV with source to isocenter ent refractive materials, producing images with strong edge
distance (SID) 23m and object to detector distance (ODD) enhancement.
400mm and pixel size of 5ȝm. Results from the application of
both FoMs shows that LC comes into full accordance with
visual assessment and that it overpass the traditionally used
CNR, especially in the ability of detecting the edge enhance-
ment due to phase contrast, of the different structures within
the image. The edge detection features make it optimal for A. X-ray Imaging Simulation
phase contrast investigation where the effect on the edge en-
Inline phase contrast imaging is being simulated using
hancement is of outmost importance.
the XRAYImagingSimulator [2], an in-house developed
Keywords— Figure of Merit, Phase Contrast, Image Evalua- software platform tool for x-ray imaging simulation. In
tion, X-Ray imaging, Simulation inline phase contrast imaging x-rays are transmitted through
the object. The final image is a recording of the intensity
distribution, at a distance r behind an object and is created
I. INTRODUCTION by interference of the scattered wave with the coherent
incoming plane wave. Parameters such as detector resolu-
Figure of Merits (FoMs) are used in order to evaluate the tion, beam energy and object to detector distance (ODD)
quality of a produced image. There are broadly used in play an important role on the image quality. In order to
imaging research and imaging techniques optimization due visualize Phase Contrast effects, a sufficient degree of lat-
to the fact that they provide a mean to quantitatively evalu- eral coherence is required: d = Ȝ*r/f, where Ȝ is the wave-
ate the quality of the produced results and compare using an length, r is the source to object distance and f is the size of
objective measurement unit. Throughout the years many the source [3]. The degree of phase change is related to
different FoMs have been proposed with the most broadly complex refractive index: n = 1-į + iȕ, where ȕ is the ab-
used being the Contrast to Noise Ratio (CNR), Signal to sorption index and į the refractive index [4].
Noise Ratio (SNR), Contrast Michelson. In the case of digi- The XRAYImagingSimulator [2] is an in-house developed
tal mammography it is generally acknowledged that the software platform used for x-ray imaging investigations.
image quality is better assessed using CNR and SNR [1]. Simulation modules have been evolved to analytically simu-
Although these FoMs can provide a good mean to evaluate late all physical interactions that take place at Phase Con-
the images, the value they provide when they are applied to trast effect based on Fresnel-Kirchoff diffraction theory.
an image does not always come in accordance with the Ideal noise free images were obtained at 20keV with
visual investigation and may also fail to detect and evaluate source to isocenter distance (SID) 23m, object to detector
the edge features of the image. For this reason a new FoM is distance (ODD) 400mm and pixel size of 5ȝm.
proposed that is based on analysis of data extracted from
line profiles within the image. Regions of Interest (ROIs)
are placed on these line profiles and based on an analysis a

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015 26

D.A. Jaffray (ed.), World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, June 7-12, 2015, Toronto, Canada,
IFMBE Proceedings 51, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-19387-8_7
New Line Contrast Figure of Merit for Image Quality Assessment 27

B. Breast Phantom
A breast mimic semi-cylindrical phantom of 18mm radi-
us and 45mm thickness filled with polystyrene has been
modeled using the XRAYImagingSimulator. A 3D repre-
sentation of the phantom used can be seen in Fig. 1. This
phantom mimics the refractive properties (indexes) of breast
tissues and is specialized for phase contrast applications. In
the background material of polystyrene five cuboids of
nylon, polyethylene, paraffin wax, polystyrene and silicone
gel respectively from left to the right, two spheres of water
of 1mm and 2mm radius and two clusters of Al of 0.098mm Fig. 2 ROIs for the calculation of the CNR
and 0.115mm respectively were inserted. Subsequently, x-
ray planar images were produced with coherent radiation The line profiles are shifted by adding the absolute min-
emerging from a point monochromatic source in a Phase imum value and normalized to max value in order to be
Contrast mode. The FoMs were applied in these planar objective when different images are to be compared. In each
images in order to be compared in terms of contrast and line profile, 4 ROIs were set (red parts of the lines) in the
edge detection abilities. regions where there is a transition from one material to
another. In the case of evaluation of contrast between
neighboring rectangular a ROI was paled in their interface
(green line). Within each ROI the maximum to minimum
difference is calculated and stored. Then the LC is calculat-
ed by finding the maximum and average difference along
the ROIs.

Fig. 1 3D representation of the breast phantom used for PC simulation

C. Figure of Merits
In order to evaluate the performance of the LC figure of
merit comparison with the well know and traditionally used
CNR was performed. The formula used for the calculation
of CNR was the following: Fig. 3 ROIs for the calculation of the LC

Where ROI is the mean value of the pixels in the Region
of Interest (different for every material), Back is the mean In Table 1 the values of the CNR and LC FoMs are pre-
value of pixels in the background and ıback is the standard sented for the calculated contrast between all different tis-
deviation of the pixel values of the background. In Fig. 2 sues within the phantom. The first result that is noticed and
these ROIs can be seen, small rectangular are the ROIs for has to be explained and clarified are the values of the CNR
the different materials, the masses and the calcifications (Al which are in the scale of 105. This is happening due to the
spheres) while the 2 large rectangular are the ROIs of the fact that, as presented before, the data are ideal noise free
background. images. According to the CNR formula the difference be-
In the Line Contrast FoM, two different line profiles tween the ROI and background mean values are divided
were drawn for each material, as shown in Fig. 3, using the with the standard deviation of the back ground, as seen in
example of the silicon gel (black square on the right). Each equation 1. In this case due to the absence of noise the
line profile is consisted of several lines an average of which standard deviation of the background has a very small value
is taken in order to eliminate values fluctuation.

IFMBE Proceedings Vol. 51