Sumary of New X-ray scanner could could revolutionize cancer surgery, pathology, drug inspection:
- Engineers at Duke University have demonstrated a prototype X-ray scanning machine that reveals not just the shape of an object but its molecular composition..
- Many of the ideas behind the prototype were originally conceived in the pursuit of performing better bomb detection for aviation security..
- The technology is a hybrid X-ray system that combines conventional X-ray transmission radiography with X-ray diffraction tomography..
- The latter involves gathering deflection angle and wavelength information from X-rays that have scattered (or bounced) off of an object, which provide a sort of “fingerprint”.
- One of the hurdles to adopting this technology is that the scattered X-ray signal is typically very weak and complex..
- This results in very few X-rays reaching the detector with each image captured, which leads to long delays while the scanner gathers enough data for the job at hand..
- The Duke team’s approach uses a coded aperture, a sort of pierced shield that allows X-rays travelling at many different angles to pass through its holes..
- The trick is in knowing the exact pattern being used to block the X-rays, which a computer can then use to process the larger, more complex signal….