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Laser-wakefield accelerators for medical phase contrast imaging : Monte Carlo simulations and experimental studies

Cipiccia, S. and Reboredo, D. and Vittoria, F. A. and Welsh, G. H. and Grant, P. and Grant, D. W. and Brunetti, E. and Wiggins, S. M. and Olivo, A. and Jaroszynski, D. A. (2015) Laser-wakefield accelerators for medical phase contrast imaging : Monte Carlo simulations and experimental studies. In: Proceedings of SPIE. SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering.. ISBN 9781628416350

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X-ray phase contrast imaging (X-PCi) is a very promising method of dramatically enhancing the contrast of X-ray images of microscopic weakly absorbing objects and soft tissue, which may lead to significant advancement in medical imaging with high-resolution and low-dose. The interest in X-PCi is giving rise to a demand for effective simulation methods. Monte Carlo codes have been proved a valuable tool for studying X-PCi including coherent effects. The laser-plasma wakefield accelerators (LWFA) is a very compact particle accelerator that uses plasma as an accelerating medium. Accelerating gradient in excess of 1 GV/cm can be obtained, which makes them over a thousand times more compact than conventional accelerators. LWFA are also sources of brilliant betatron radiation, which are promising for applications including medical imaging. We present a study that explores the potential of LWFA-based betatron sources for medical X-PCi and investigate its resolution limit using numerical simulations based on the FLUKA Monte Carlo code, and present preliminary experimental results