In the past decade, phase-contrast imaging (PCI) has become a hot research with an increased improvement of the image contrast with respect to conventional absorption radiography. In this paper, effects of tube voltage (kVp) on propagation-based phase-contrast imaging have been investigated with two types of microfocus x-ray tubes, a conventional sealed x-ray tube with the focal spot size of 13 - 20 μm and an open x-ray tube with minimum focal spot size less than 2 μm. A cooled x-ray CCD detector with the pixel size of 24 μm was used to acquire digital images. Two thin plastic sheets with different thickness were used as radiography phantoms. Two different phenomena were observed for the two x-ray tubes. For the open tube, phase-contrast effect has a slight drop with the increasing of tube voltage, however, it is opposite for the sealed tube. A further investigation indicates that the variation of focal spot size causes the abnormal result for the sealed tube. It also shows that phase-contrast effect is more sensitive to focal spot size than tube voltage.
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