Technology 2 min read

Researchers Develop Cheaper X-Ray Detection Technology

Jonathan Borba /

Jonathan Borba /

Scintillators are a common type of X-ray detection material that converts the radiation in x-rays into visible light. Expectedly, the technology has tons of applications.

For example, dentists use the X-ray scintillators to take images of teeth, and airports rely on it to scan luggage. However, the technology is far from perfect.

For one, the materials used to make the x-ray scintillators are expensive or difficult to manufacture. Also, some recent developments use compounds that include lead — a highly toxic metal and strong poison.

It became necessary to develop a less harmful and cheaper X-ray detection technology. And that’s what a researcher team from Florida State University — led by Biwu Ma — did.

In a statement, Ma, who is a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the university, said:

“Developing low-cost scintillation materials that can be easily manufactured and that perform well remains a great challenge. This work paves the way for exploring new approaches to create these important devices.”

They described how the technology works in their paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

Creating an Environmentally-Friendly X-ray Detection Technology

Ma and colleagues found a solution to the lead issue. Instead of using the toxic metal, they created the scintillators using an organic compound called manganese halide.

The compound is useful for making a powder that’s perfect for imaging. What’s more, it can combine with a polymer to form a flexible composite that can serve as a scintillator.

According to the researchers, such flexibility broadens the technology’s potential use.

Researchers have made scintillators with a variety of compounds, but this technology offers something that combines low cost with high performance and environmentally friendly materials,” Ma said. “When you also consider the ability to make flexible scintillators, it’s a promising avenue to explore.”

The FSU Office of the Vice President for Research awarded Ma a GAP Commercialization Investment Program grant. With that, the research could become a commercial product soon.

Read More: New Chip for Low-Cost Hand-held Microwave Imager Developed

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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