Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Medical Physics

First Advisor

Joshua D. Evans

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Williamson

Third Advisor

Bruce Whiting

Fourth Advisor

John Chetley Ford


Dual-energy computed tomography (DECT) has shown great potential in the reduction of uncertainties of proton ranges and low energy photon cross section estimation used in radiation therapy planning. The work presented herein investigated three contributions for advancing DECT applications. 1) A linear and separable two-parameter DECT, the basis vector model (BVM) was used to estimate proton stopping power. Compared to other nonlinear two-parameter models in the literature, the BVM model shows a comparable accuracy achieved for typical human tissues. This model outperforms other nonlinear models in estimations of linear attenuation coefficients. This is the first study to clearly illustrate the advantages of linear model not only in accurately mapping radiological quantities for radiation therapy, but also in providing a unique model for accurate linear forward projection modelling, which is needed by the statistical iterative reconstruction (SIR) and other advanced DECT reconstruction algorithms. 2) Accurate DECT requires knowledge of x-ray beam properties. Using the Birch-Marshall1 model and beam hardening correction coefficients encoded in a CT scanner’s sinogram header files, an efficient and accurate way to estimate the x-ray spectrum is proposed. The merits of the proposed technique lie in requiring no physical transmission measurement after a one-time calibration against an independently measured spectrum. This technique can also be used in monitoring the aging of x-ray CT tubes. 3) An iterative filtered back projection with anatomical constraint (iFBP-AC) algorithm was also implemented on a digital phantom to evaluate its ability in mitigating beam hardening effects and supporting accurate material decomposition for in vivo imaging of photon cross section and proton stopping power. Compared to iFBP without constraints, both algorithms demonstrate high efficiency of convergence. For an idealized digital phantom, similar accuracy was observed under a noiseless situation. With clinically achievable noise level added to the sinograms, iFBP-AC greatly outperforms iFBP in prediction of photon linear attenuation at low energy, i.e., 28 keV. The estimated mean errors of iFBP and iFBP-AC for cortical bone are 1% and 0.7%, respectively; the standard deviations are 0.6% and 5%, respectively. The achieved accuracy of iFBP-AC shows robustness versus contrast level. Similar mean errors are maintained for muscle tissue. The standard deviation achieved by iFBP-AC is 1.2%. In contrast, the standard deviation yielded by iFBP is about 20.2%. The algorithm of iFBP-AC shows potential application of quantitative measurement of DECT. The contributions in this thesis aim to improve the clinical performance of DECT.


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