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: Controlling core switching in Pac-man disks

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

Controlling core switching in Pac-man disks

Dec 24, 2014

Magnetic vortices in thin films can encode information in the perpendicular magnetization pointing up or down relative to the vortex core. These binary states could be useful for non-volatile data storage ...

Atoms queue up for quantum computer networks

Dec 24, 2014

In order to develop future quantum computer networks, it is necessary to hold a known number of atoms and read them without them disappearing. To do this, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have developed ...

New video supports radiation dosimetry audits

Dec 23, 2014

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), working with the National Radiotherapy Trials Quality Assurance Group, has produced a video guide to support physicists participating in radiation dosimetry audits.

Acoustic tweezers manipulate cell-to-cell contact

Dec 22, 2014

Sound waves can precisely position groups of cells for study without the danger of changing or damaging the cells, according to a team of Penn State researchers who are using surface acoustic waves to manipulate ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.