Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Seeing X-Rays in a New Light: Soft X-Ray Detector Could Improve Breast Cancer Imaging

09.08.2012
A slice of light is about to come into focus for the first time, thanks to a new X-ray detector constructed at the University of South Carolina. And according to Krishna Mandal, the associate professor of electrical engineering who led the team that built it, the detector offers tremendous potential in breast cancer detection and treatment.

“There’s nothing available on the market that covers this range of X-rays,” Mandal said. “Nobody has explored this region, and there will be many innovations that will result from our being able to do so, particularly when it comes to medical imaging.”

X-rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which ranges from low-energy radio waves to high-energy gamma rays. X-rays are on the high-energy end of the spectrum, just below gamma rays – they’re more energetic than ultraviolet light, which is more energetic than visible light.

As they just reported in Applied Physics Letters, the USC engineers have developed a laboratory-scale device that sensitively detects what are called “soft X-rays” – those on the lowest end of the X-ray energy scale.

At the other end of the X-ray spectrum are hard X-rays. The typical “X-ray” taken at a doctor’s or dentist’s office is a black-and-white photograph showing where hard X-rays were able to penetrate (the black area) or unable to penetrate (the white area) the object between the X-ray source and detector.

“If you take mammography as an example, hard X-rays pose difficulties,” Mandal said. “First, they have very high energy, and so we have to minimize exposure to them.” Soft X-ray devices are potentially less harmful to patients than those based on hard X-rays, he said.

“And more importantly, the soft X-rays interact with calcifications in the tissue,” he added. “Hard X-rays do not – they just pass through calcium deposits.”

Calcification is the deposition of calcium minerals in body tissue; in the breast it can be an indicator of pathology. Not as opaque as bone to X-rays, calcium deposits represent an very promising target for detailed soft X-ray mapping, Mandal said. He envisions the new soft X-ray detectors being at the forefront of a new way of imaging breast tissue, so that physicians can follow progression of calcification over time.

“It’s common for women even under 40 years of age to have calcifications,” Mandal said. “It’s critical to know whether it exists in the tissue and especially whether it is spreading.”

“But to see that, we need very high resolution detection systems, which is what we’ve made. These detectors are instantaneous, real-time and will be able to operate at room temperature with high resolution.”

Mandal’s team constructed the detector through epitaxial growth of silicon carbide on wafers of 4H-SiC. They were tested for response to soft X-rays at both the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory.

The resulting detectors exhibited high sensitivity for soft X-rays (50 to 10,000 electron volts). There are no commercially available soft X-ray detectors covering this range, Mandal said, and comparison with an off-the-shelf ultraviolet detector showed a much more robust response for soft X-rays with the new device.

Steven Powell | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sc.edu

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes
28.03.2017 | Technische Universität Braunschweig

nachricht 3-D visualization of the pancreas -- new tool in diabetes research
15.03.2017 | Umea University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>