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.
Keywords: Angle-dispersive X-ray diffraction, conventional imaging, diffraction breast imaging, diffraction computed tomography, energy-dispersive modality, energy-dispersive X-ray diffraction, phase contrast imaging, small angle x-ray scattering, tissue characterization.