Single Shot Laboratory Based Quantitative X Ray Phase Contrast Imaging through Energy Resolved pixelated detectors

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Medical Physics and Biomedical Eng


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Description At the moment we are at the end of the first year of a 3.5 yrs PhD studentship. Hence this time was used by the student to familiarise with the new methods and learn how to use the tools of the trade. In this sense, this has so far been successful and it can be said that, up to this point, the objectives have been met. We have run the first experiments with energy-sensitive detectors (data analysis is underway), and the student has developed a portable system for edge-illuminaiton based x-ray phase contrast imaging, which will enable us to perform experiments outside of our labs. This will multiply options to experiment with the technology with many more different detector (as well as source) technologies. The system has been tested and used to produce the first images, which has also provided an excellent learning curve for the student.
Exploitation Route The portable system will enable us to perform experiments with different detector technologies (e.g. we have already tested Pixirad and are planning to include Hexitec as well as Medipix as initially foreseen), hence creating new options for collaboration between communities and widening the range of applications for both the detector and the imaging technologies. In addition we will test the imaging method on new sources (a test at Strathclyde is already planned for early next year, and discussions are underway to perform tests at the laser centre at RAL) again fostering collaborations among diverse communities.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Electronics,Energy,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

Description too early for impact - see key findings.
Description Creatv Microtech 
Organisation Creatv MicroTech
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Creatv Microtech has fabricated most of the masks we have used so far in our edge-illuminaiton approach. I have effectively opened a new line of business for them, since other groups have ordered similar devices since. I have visited them in two occasions and held lectures to explain how we use the masks and why, which culminated in meetings aimed at improving the mask fabrication process. The first iteration has already taken place resulting in masks with less defects and better gold/substrate adhesion; another is imminent which will be aimed at the fabrication of masks with larger areas.
Collaborator Contribution Creatv Microtech has fabricated for free a number of test structures, which we used in several experiments. In one occasions, they have invited me over at their expenses and showed me their facilities, which enabled a much better understanding of the mask fabrication process and especially of what can and cannot be done with the technology. They have also brokered contacts with the FDA (wit which the terms of a collaboration are under discussion which, if successful, will result in their endorsement of our technology) and with the Frederick Cancer Institute, again a very valuable contact for future collaborations.
Impact Papers are not particularly relevant in this case although one could argue that most edge-illumination phase contrast papers would not have been possible without Creatv Microtech. One important outcome is the availability of mask-based systems not only in our labs but also at Elettra, Diamond and the ESRF (for what concerns our collaborators), plus other labs worldwide e.g. the Universities of Houston and Saskatchewan and soon the FDA and possibly DESY in Hamburg, Germany; considering that out technology is very young we expect this to keep growing in the near future.
Start Year 2006
Description University of Strathclyde 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am developing an edge-illuminaiton system suitable for installation at the laser plasma source available at the University of Strathclyde, and have provided input to their new software framework that incorporates coherent in a Monte Carlo framework.
Collaborator Contribution They have made their source, detectors and beamline available for preliminary experiments aimed at designing a larger experiment which will be performed early in 2015. In that occasion, more access to the above will be provided. They have modified their simulation code to include phase contrast in general and my methods in particular.
Impact So far we have published one joint paper and developed a modification of the FLUKA Monte Carlo code that includes coherence. For the time being the collaboration is focused on physics with some element of engineering but in the longer term (i.e. after edge-illumination becomes an established method at the laser plasma source) this will be used for studies in medicine, biology, material science, etc.
Start Year 2011
Description pixirad 
Organisation PIXIRAD Imaging Counters
Country Italy 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I have incorporated their new detector technology into our imaging system showing it opens new possibilities (e.g. "colour" phase contrast imaging) and boosts the phase sensitivity of our method.
Collaborator Contribution They have repeatedly loaned their detector to us; the first time this happened they also came over to UCL at their expenses to participate in the installation and train us on its use.
Impact Despite this collaboration having only started very recently (contacts started in 2013 but the first experiment was carried out in 2014), we have already published a joint paper and submitted a large EU grant application. The experimental sessions so far have been very fruitful: data analysis is still underway but we would expect it to lead to al least two more publications.
Start Year 2013
Description Edge-illumination x-ray phase contrast imaging: matching the imaging method to the detector technology, IWORID 2014, Trieste, Italy, June22-26 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Scientific meeting (conference/symposium etc.)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Key conference in detector physics, growing over the years.

Promoted our method among a different community which is key because there is significant match between imaging method and detector technology. New collaborations are already being discussed as a consequence.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014