Student develops portable X-ray system

Dec 04, 2013

(Phys.org) —An X-ray imaging system developed by Victoria University researcher Nicola Winch could open the way for X-rays to be carried out in a range of new environments.

The portable unit—a self-contained which Nicola developed as part of her doctoral research—could be used where medical emergencies are happening, by vets working outdoors and for testing in remote locations.

"If there was an earthquake, for example, and a hospital power system failed, this unit could be used for accident and emergency X-ray imaging as the basis of triaging decisions for victims. It is also suited to outdoor veterinary work, and materials testing of pipelines and power lines in remote areas," says Nicola.

Nicola's PhD research investigates the development of new transparent materials for high resolution radiography.

Traditional X-ray images are stored on photographic film, but increasingly radiographers favour modern techniques such as those based on new storage phosphor imaging plates which don't require the use of chemicals and where the image is obtained using optical technology.

"We were looking at ways of making these phosphor imaging plates more cost-effective and with higher resolution, for applications in mammography, for example," she says. "The way to do this is to make transparent plates.

"The older imaging plates are simply a special X-ray sensitive powder ground up and embedded in a resin. These have problems with image detail (resolution) because the light that is used to read out the image strikes the powder grains and is scattered, resulting in a blurred image.

"The transparent plates reduce this problem and result in much better quality images."

Nicola built the mobile X-ray box because she needed something to test the plates on.

"It has been used to take images, including some of animals, with a high degree of success. The image appears on a laptop computer and can easily be processed and archived, and also transmitted to a base station through the cellphone network.

"More work needs to be done to reduce the required X-ray dose a little further to fully comply with current standards, but it is fine as is for veterinary and materials testing."

Nicola says the system has many benefits.

"It is lightweight, very portable, easy to use, robust, it can run off batteries and it's cost-effective as it uses easily obtainable components."

Associate Professor Andy Edgar, who supervised Nicola's research, adds: "The system Nicola has built has the potential for widespread use wherever there is a need for portability and independence of mains power in X-ray imaging.

"We are using her work as the foundation for further refinements of both system and plates with a view to commercial development."

Explore further: Imaging breast cancer with light: Researchers unveil 'photoacoustic mammoscope'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Team creates highly portable imaging system

Jun 26, 2013

Los Alamos National Laboratory and Tribogenics, the pioneer of innovative X-ray solutions, have partnered to create a unique, lightweight, compact, low-cost X-ray system that uses the MiniMAX (Miniature, ...

Recommended for you

Superconducting circuits, simplified

Oct 17, 2014

Computer chips with superconducting circuits—circuits with zero electrical resistance—would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption ...

Protons hog the momentum in neutron-rich nuclei

Oct 16, 2014

Like dancers swirling on the dance floor with bystanders looking on, protons and neutrons that have briefly paired up in the nucleus have higher-average momentum, leaving less for non-paired nucleons. Using ...

Cosmic jets of young stars formed by magnetic fields

Oct 16, 2014

Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe's most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space. ...

User comments : 0