"This technology sets the machine apart diagnostically because its small pixels and accurate energy resolution mean that this new imaging tool is able to get images that no other imaging tool can achieve", Phil Butler said in a CERN news release.
The device, named "Medipix", incorporates particle-tracking technology developed for CERN's Large Hadron Collider, which in 2012 discovered the Higgs Boson particle. The electromagnetic radiation has a shorter wavelength as compared to visible light, so it would pass soft tissues easily but failed to pass through harder elements like bones.
Scientists in New Zealand have performed the first-ever 3-D Color X-Ray on a human being.
Medipix is a family of read-out chips for particle imaging and detection.
This enables high-resolution, high-contrast, very reliable images, making it unique for imaging applications in particular in the medical field.
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CERN's physics lab helped with the imaging technology while Universities of Otago and Canterbury helped with developing the X-ray. The Medipix3 chip works equally with a sensor of a digital camera, but it identifies and calculates the particles are hitting each pixel when a shutter opens.
MARS Bioimaging Ltd, which is commercialising the 3D scanner, is linked to the University of Otago and Canterbury.
The MARS x-ray can show the fat, water, calcium, and other disease markers in the body parts that are being scanned. The latter together with more than 20 research institutes forms the third generation of Medipix collaboration. As this happens, a sophisticated algorithm uses that information to produce a 3D image with different colors representing different materials scanned.
Anthony mentioned that researchers are now using a smaller version of the MARS scanner to study cancer and other vascular diseases.
The new colour X-ray imaging technique is able to produce clearer and more accurate images which would help doctors in getting a more accurate diagnoses to the patients. It produces images with improved diagnostic information and will enable doctors to offer the best advice on treatment options. In the case of the MARS scanner, the CERN Medipix3 chip sees its relevance in the medical field. For now, the father-son team plans to test their scanner in a trial focused on orthopedic and rheumatology patients in New Zealand, though it will likely be years before the technology is approved for widespread use.