Material decomposition using multienergy photon counting x-ray detectors (PCXD) has been an active research area over the past few years. Even with some success, the problem of optimal energy selection and three material decomposition including malignant tissue is still on going research topic, and more systematic studies are required. This paper aims to address this in a unified statistical framework in a mammographic environment.Methods:
A unified statistical framework for energy level optimization and decomposition of three materials is proposed. In particular, an energy level optimization algorithm is derived using the theory of the minimum variance unbiased estimator, and an iterative algorithm is proposed for material composition as well as system parameter estimation under the unified statistical estimation framework. To verify the performance of the proposed algorithm, the authors performed simulation studies as well as real experiments using physical breast phantom andex vivo breast specimen. Quantitative comparisons using various performance measures were conducted, and qualitative performance evaluations for ex vivo breast specimen were also performed by comparing the ground-truth malignant tissue areas identified by radiologists.Results:
Both simulation and real experiments confirmed that the optimized energy bins by the proposed method allow better material decomposition quality. Moreover, for the specimen thickness estimation errors up to 2 mm, the proposed method provides good reconstruction results in both simulation and realex vivo breast phantom experiments compared to existing methods.Conclusions:
The proposed statistical framework of PCXD has been successfully applied for the energy optimization and decomposition of three material in a mammographic environment. Experimental results using the physical breast phantom andex vivo specimen support the practicality of the proposed algorithm.