X-ray diffraction (XRD) imaging appears as an alternative to conventional (transmission) imaging for
characterization of breast tissue. The diffraction pattern of a material depends upon its arrangement at the sub-molecular
level, which is altered as cancer progresses. For this reason the diffraction patterns of normal and neoplastic tissue have a
detectable difference, unlike their X-ray attenuation coefficients, which underpin conventional imaging.
This paper presents key studies in the field of single-point characterization of breast tissue using XRD. It then describes
the development of XRD imaging and the main approaches used.
Existing studies in the field of XRD imaging of breast tissue, both in the Computed Tomography modality, allowing
cross-sectional images of an object, and in the planar geometry, are compared.
Finally, future developments, including the adaptation to breast tissue analysis of patented diffraction imaging techniques
and technologies, are discussed.