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Results are presented of a recent experiment at the Imaging and Medical beamline of the Australian Synchrotron intended to contribute to the implementation of low-dose high-sensitivity three-dimensional mammographic phase-contrast imaging, initially at synchrotrons and subsequently in hospitals and medical imaging clinics. The effect of such imaging parameters as X-ray energy, source size, detector resolution, sample-to-detector distance, scanning and data processing strategies in the case of propagation-based phase-contrast computed tomography (CT) have been tested, quantified, evaluated and optimized using a plastic phantom simulating relevant breast-tissue characteristics. Analysis of the data collected using a Hamamatsu CMOS Flat Panel Sensor, with a pixel size of 100 µm, revealed the presence of propagation-based phase contrast and demonstrated significant improvement of the quality of phase-contrast CT imaging compared with conventional (absorption-based) CT, at medically acceptable radiation doses.

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