In order to evaluate the effectiveness of edge enhancement by refraction in computed tomography, images of a cross section of a euthanized mouse thorax were recorded at low (20 keV) and high (72 keV) x-ray energies at a spatial resolution of about 40 μm. Compared with the images obtained with the detector at 30 cm from an object, when the object was located at 113 cm from the detector, the contrast between tissues and air was improved at both energies. The improvement was more pronounced at 72 keV where the absorption contrast was weaker. This effect was due to refraction at the surfaces of alveolar membranes and small airways which creates areas with apparently high and low linear attenuation coefficients within tissues. The edge enhancement by refraction was also effective in images of a euthanized rabbit thorax, at x-ray energies of 40 and 70 keV at a spatial resolution of about 0.15 mm. These results raise the possibility that the refraction contrast may be utilized to obtain a high-resolution tomographic image of human lung and bone with low dose.
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