An integrated x-ray/optical tomography system for pre-clinical radiation research
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The current Small Animal Radiation Research Platform (SARRP) is poor for localizing small soft tissue targets for irradiation or tumor models growing in a soft tissue environment. Therefore, an imaging method complementary to x-ray CT is required to localize the soft tissue target's Center of Mass (CoM) to within 1 mm. In this paper, we report the development of an integrated x-ray/bioluminescence imaging/tomography (BLI/BLT) system to provide a pre-clinical, high resolution irradiation system. This system can be used to study radiation effects in small animals under the conebeam computed tomography (CBCT) imaging guidance by adding the bioluminescence imaging (BLI) system as a standalone system which can also be docked onto the SARRP. The proposed system integrates two robotic rotating stages and an x-ray source rated at maximum 130 kVp and having a small variable focal spot. A high performance and low noise CCD camera mounted in a light-tight housing along with an optical filter assembly is used for multi-wavelength BL tomography. A three-mirror arrangement is implemented to eliminate the need of rotating the CCD camera for acquiring multiple views. The mirror system is attached to a motorized stage to capture images in angles between 0-90° (for the standalone system). Camera and CBCT calibration are accomplished.