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Catching Rays

3D-printed detection system incorporating the mineral perovskite senses lower, safer X-ray doses

16 March 2021

Catching Rays

X-rays painlessly zip through flesh and tissue, revealing fractures or cracks in bones in the patterns left on a detector. While they’ve revolutionised modern medicine, X-rays also carry risks – frequent exposure to high 'doses' may cause disease. So radiographers are on the lookout for ways to reduce our exposure to X-rays. Bringing together several novel technologies, here a new 3D printing technique sprays an aerosol mixture of perovskite, a mineral which helps to catch X-rays, into a pattern of pillars studded onto a supporting layer of graphene. The tiny bed of sensitive squares forms a cheap and highly-sensitive X-ray detector, each contributing pixels to a computer image with 1000 times lower doses of X-rays than often used today. This new device also requires less expensive machinery, potentially promising safer medical imaging available across the world.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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