Spectral diffusion: an algorithm for robust material decomposition of spectral CT data.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats


Citation Stats


Clinical successes with dual energy CT, aggressive development of energy discriminating x-ray detectors, and novel, target-specific, nanoparticle contrast agents promise to establish spectral CT as a powerful functional imaging modality. Common to all of these applications is the need for a material decomposition algorithm which is robust in the presence of noise. Here, we develop such an algorithm which uses spectrally joint, piecewise constant kernel regression and the split Bregman method to iteratively solve for a material decomposition which is gradient sparse, quantitatively accurate, and minimally biased. We call this algorithm spectral diffusion because it integrates structural information from multiple spectral channels and their corresponding material decompositions within the framework of diffusion-like denoising algorithms (e.g. anisotropic diffusion, total variation, bilateral filtration). Using a 3D, digital bar phantom and a material sensitivity matrix calibrated for use with a polychromatic x-ray source, we quantify the limits of detectability (CNR = 5) afforded by spectral diffusion in the triple-energy material decomposition of iodine (3.1 mg mL(-1)), gold (0.9 mg mL(-1)), and gadolinium (2.9 mg mL(-1)) concentrations. We then apply spectral diffusion to the in vivo separation of these three materials in the mouse kidneys, liver, and spleen.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Clark, Darin P, and Cristian T Badea (2014). Spectral diffusion: an algorithm for robust material decomposition of spectral CT data. Phys Med Biol, 59(21). pp. 6445–6466. 10.1088/0031-9155/59/21/6445 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11180.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Darin Clark

Assistant Professor in Radiology

Cristian Tudorel Badea

Professor in Radiology

  • Our lab's research focus lies primarily in developing novel quantitative imaging systems, reconstruction algorithms and analysis methods.  My major expertise is in preclinical CT.
  • Currently, we are particularly interested in developing novel strategies for spectral CT imaging using nanoparticle-based contrast agents for theranostics (i.e. therapy and diagnostics).
  • We are also engaged in developing new approaches for multidimensional CT image reconstruction suitable to address difficult undersampling cases in cardiac and spectral CT (dual energy and photon counting) using compressed sensing and/or deep learning.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.