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Dark-field X February 22, 2008

Posted by tomography in development, Radiology.

Having a look back at the gadgets, I met our good old friend again… X-ray. Further more, it was called dark-field.

Unlike traditional X-ray techniques that produce radiographies by shining the object with X-rays in order to collect the unabsorbed light, dark-field imaging captures the light scattered throughout the material, totally ignoring the remnant radiation. This leads to stunning overall clarity. Dark-field images provide more detail than ordinary x-ray radiographies and could be used to diagnose the onset of osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease or breast cancer. As cancer or plaque cells scatter radiation slightly differently than normal cells, dark-field x-ray images can also be used to explore soft tissue, providing safer early diagnosis of breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.darkfieldchocolate

Dark-field scan of a chocolate (pic from Gizmag). I liked it better than fish or chicken wing, which you can download here.

These imaging techniques are expensive and the tools used are also not consumer. Take Paul Scherrer Institute’s (PSI) dark-field X-ray, assisted by a 300m in diameter synchrotron and sophisticated optics, not less than $200 million.

PSI and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a novel method for producing dark-field X-ray images at wavelengths used in typical medical and industrial imaging equipment. With the new nanostructured gratings that permit the use of a broad energy spectrum, including the standard range of energies, dark-field images could soon be produced using ordinary X-ray equipment already in place in hospitals.


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