Bellona – first X-ray System for clinical phase-contrast mammography

This project aims to improve the diagnostic power of classical mammography systems by exploiting the additional information provided by differential phase and dark-field signals.

As a part of the project, for the first time, a clinical prototype of an in-vivo grating-based phase-contrast mammography (PCM) system was created at TOMCAT, in frame of the long-term collaboration between Philips, University Hospital of Zurich, Kantonsspital Baden and ETH Zurich. The system, called Bellona embeds a grating interferometer, fitted into a clinical Philips Microdose Mammography system [1, 2].

Bellona has been installed [5] in University Hospital Zurich in July 2020 and is getting ready for the clinical trial, seeking to demonstrate that in the future women undergoing mammography could benefit from the use of PCM. With this study, we have the possibility to explore the potential of the phase-contrast mammography to improve the diagnostic performance of the standard mammography with the first clinically compatible phase-contrast mammography device.


  1. Roessl E, Daerr H, Koehler T, Martens G and van Stevendaal U, Clinical boundary conditions for grating-based differential phase-contrast mammography Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London, Ser. A 372(2010) 2014.
  2. Koehler T, Daerr H, Martens G, Kuhn N, Löscher S, van Stevendaal U and Roessl E Slit-scanning differential x-ray phase-contrast mammography: Proof-of-concept experimental studies Med. Phys. 42(4) 1959-1965 (2015).
  3. Arboleda C, Wang Z, Koehler T, Martens G, van Stevendaal U, Daerr H, Bartels M, Villanueva-Perez P, Roessl E and Stampanoni M Sensitivity-based optimization for the design of a grating interferometer for clinical X-ray phase contrast mammography, Opt. Express 25(6) 6349-6364 (2017).
  4. Arboleda C, Wang Z and Stampanoni M Tilted-grating approach for scanning-mode X-ray phase contrast imaging Opt. Express 22(13) 15447-15458 (2014 ).
  5. Arboleda C, Wang Z, Jefimovs K et al. Towards clinical grating-interferometry mammography, European Radiology 30, 1419-1425 (2020).
  • Philips Research Hamburg
  • Kantonspital Baden (KSB)
  • University Hospital Zurich (USZ)
  • ERC Grant ERC-2012-StG 310005-PhaseX
  • National Competence Center for Biomedical Imaging (NCCBI)
Dr. Marco Stampanoni,