Scientists from Stony Brook University may have just made an important discovery in how we understand x-ray technology. This realization may just be an important stepping stone in the development of more sophisticated x-ray machines.
The discovery was made at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and had to do with the physics of how light moves within x-ray detectors, specifically the scintillators.
This may allow medical imaging in NJ and beyond to create much more vivid and detailed images with x-rays, without increasing the amount of rays put into the patient.
In the medical field, x-rays are used to see inside and examine the body for a variety of reasons. Generally, the more x-rays are used the clearer the resulting picture and the better the diagnosis. But we are limited with how many x-rays can be used due health hazards. Repeated use of x-rays can be harmful to the human body.
Better images of the body, with no increased risk to patient health
The scintillator and light issues comes from a little understood phenomenon where light would bounce around within the scintillator and blur the x-ray image. Now that we may be able to accurately describe how light forms an image within scintillators, we can likely improve upon it.
“These measurements provide insight into the inherent imaging performance of scintillators and will facilitate their optimization, e.g. thickness, screen-optics and irradiation geometry, for different x-ray imaging applications.”
It will be interesting to see how quickly these discoveries make their way into better medical products.
If you are interested in understanding the specifics of what they found, the research was published in Medical Imaging 2017: Physics of Medical Imaging. There is a full copy of their findings available online.