Biological and medical research

Cancer research, bio-mechanics, drug testing are just few examples where X-ray imaging contributes to the research in biology and medicine. Until recent, synchotrons were typically the place to go to do much of this imaging. Nowadays, the photon counting detectors start changing this stereotype.

The high sensitivity of photon counting detectors to low energy photons predetermines them for imaging of low X-ray attenuating objects, i.e. light objects, such as tissue. Therefore, these detectors are ideal for the bio-related applications. The low X-ray energy sensitivity (starting from ~3 keV) together with the high dynamic range allows revealing features in samples that remained hidden to other types of X-ray imaging detectors.

Mouse X-ray image taken with camera Widepix 10x10 and nano-focus X-ray tube.

 

Spectral imaging

The energy sensitivity of modern cameras further opens possibilities to better identify individual types of tissue. That has important consequences for example in the cancer research as the tumor tissue can be better identified from the healthy one.

Black and white X-ray radiography image of a mouse.

Colour X-ray radiography image of a mouse, where colors are assigned based on the varying tissue spectral response.

 

Spectral computed tomography 

Computed tomography of insects contributes to better understanding how their bodies work which is consequently important for improvements of bio-mechanical or robotic designs. Photon counting imaging detectors again reveal details that were not visible in the past. Images below illustrate the spectral imaging capabilities for identification of tissue in reconstructed CT datasets.

Black and white X-ray tomography cuts of a mouse.

Colour X-ray tomography cuts of a mouse. The colors are mapped according to the spectral response of tissues in a plasticized mouse sample. 200 projections were measured at energy levels of 10, 15, 25 and 30 keV.