Distribution of the ceramic particles in the plastic visualized by
electron microscopy. Source: INM
(December 2, 2015) Researchers at the INM developed new materials to manufacture X-ray detectors inexpensively and on a large scale with greater image resolution.
Digital X-ray systems have become a vital part of health care. The analog X-ray film of the past has been replaced by digital flat panel detectors. Today’s detectors are sensitive but quite expensive and have limited resolution. Now, scientists collaborating in project HOP-X have succeeded in developing new materials for detectors: they embedded ceramic particles in a conductive plastic. The components of these “composite detectors” can be stirred into a solvent and then applied like paint by spraying. This means that, in future, it might be possible to manufacture X-ray detectors inexpensively and on a large scale with greater image resolution.
X-ray detectors consist of a scintillator layer and a photodiode. The scintillator layer converts X-rays into visible light which the photodiode absorbs. Such detectors are difficult to manufacture and expensive. Their resolution is limited because the signals received can interfere with each other. In order to manufacture X-ray detectors at lower cost, scientists from Siemens Healthcare GmbH, the INM –Leibniz Institute for New Materials, the CAN GmbH, the Universities of Erlangen and further partners took a new approach in the project HOP-X: they used materials developed for flexible solar cells and adapted them to the X-rays.