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Science

X-ray 'Ghost Images' Could Cut Radiation Doses (sciencemag.org) 21

Sophia Chen, writing for Science magazine: On its own, a single-pixel camera captures pictures that are pretty dull: squares that are completely black, completely white, or some shade of gray in between. All it does, after all, is detect brightness. Yet by connecting a single-pixel camera to a patterned light source, a team of physicists in China has made detailed x-ray images using a statistical technique called ghost imaging, first pioneered 20 years ago in infrared and visible light. Researchers in the field say future versions of this system could take clear x-ray photographs with cheap cameras -- no need for lenses and multipixel detectors -- and less cancer-causing radiation than conventional techniques.

"Our system is much smaller and cheaper, and it could even be portable if you needed to take it into the field," says Wu Ling-An, a physicist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing whose work with her colleagues was published on 28 March in Optica. The researchers' system still isn't ready to be used in medicine. But they have lowered the x-ray dose by about a million times compared with earlier attempts, says Daniele Pelliccia, who in 2015 made some of the first x-ray ghost images.

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X-ray 'Ghost Images' Could Cut Radiation Doses

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  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Thursday March 29, 2018 @04:20PM (#56349091)

    They have lowered the x-ray dose by about a million times compared with earlier attempts, says Daniele Pelliccia, who in 2015 made some of the first x-ray ghost images.

    Okay so it's a million times lower than their earlier attempts. But did their earlier attempts require a million times higher than conventional x-rays?

    • Yes. According to the TFA,

      he used a building-size source of intense x-rays called a synchrotron, but Wu's group made do with a compact tabletop source.

      Now, what's really interesting is that while the total exposure for an image is about the same, the power is reduced and the time is increased greatly. As I understand, that reduces the risk posed by the radiation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Yes. According to the TFA,

        he used a building-size source of intense x-rays called a synchrotron, but Wu's group made do with a compact tabletop source.

        Now, what's really interesting is that while the total exposure for an image is about the same, the power is reduced and the time is increased greatly. As I understand, that reduces the risk posed by the radiation.

        Radiation exposure is a cumulative dose over your lifetime, so I don't see how this makes any difference in this context.

        However, in radiation treatments, the radiation side effects are mitigated by breaking the the total dose into a bunch of smaller ones. This is called fractionation.

        The dose emitted during a standard x-ray or computed tomography (CT) is not problematic and causes no immediate side effects.

    • It also seems strange that they are claiming that it will reduce the price much since you can already buy CCD X-ray cameras for $500-$1000 [alibaba.com]. In addition to all these drawbacks you also still need a very high-resolution camera initially to take pictures of the sandpaper they use for the filter.

      This idea seems so far behind the currently available technology that it seems very unlikely it will ever be practical and it does not seem to have any particular advantage.
      • I think you're being a little hard on a technology in a nascent stage. One of the particular advantages of ghost imaging is the potential for 3-D imaging when several detectors are used, which could result in something that would replace CT scanning. I would wait a bit more before completely dismissing this line of research.
        • For the technology to have promise it either needs to have some theory showing that, at least theoretically, it can generate better images with lower doses than the conventional approach or it needs to have some clear practical advantage over the conventional approach. With ever cheaper and better CCD devices the later is not at all clear and there was no mention of the former anywhere I could find (indeed it currently uses orders of magnitude more radiation!). So I am left wondering what the motivation for
      • That's one component of MANY required for x-ray imaging. A doctor I know wanted to perform x-rays in his own clinic, but the costs to do so approached half a million dollars. If, for example, this portable device emits radiation more on par with dental x-rays, then you could forego having to add lead shielding to the entire room. If x-ray equipment is ever moved, it has to be recertified (expensive) whereas a device like this may only need to be certified once, and/or the certification process could be much

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Looks like the Chinese want to compromise our national security by installing backdoors in the medical industry now! Better ban this before good, God fearing Christian 'Muricans wind up with all their medical information on Chinese servers alongside boring discussions about whats for diner and tet messages about picking up tampons on the way home from work!

  • Because if these researchers are correct a long distance flight will suddenly expose you to a few million time the radiation compared to having taken an X-ray. Now that sounds scary.
    • Factoring (Score:4, Funny)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday March 29, 2018 @07:26PM (#56350145) Journal

      Because if these researchers are correct a long distance flight will suddenly expose you to a few million time the radiation compared to having taken an X-ray. Now that sounds scary.

      If they put a photographic plate under us during the flight, then we get an X-ray check-up while up there. Plus, TSA gives us a free rectal exam before the flight. Kill 3 birds with one kidney stone!

  • by drew_kime ( 303965 ) on Thursday March 29, 2018 @06:08PM (#56349565) Journal

    How long until this is available in glasses?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    less cancer-causing radiation than conventional techniques

    This is an irresponsible statement which costs lives by discouraging harmless diagnostic imaging. Even high dose radiation saves lives today, and low dose radiation therapies can potentially save many more.

    Unfortunately, the simplistic and baseless "Linear No Threshold" model [x-lnt.org] holds that all radiation causes cancer, and has prevented research and application of low dose therapies, even as mountains of counter-evidence have accumulated over the decades since the adoption of LNT.

    One may also learn more about r

  • Instead of using a patterned mask, couldn't you simply raster the x-ray source? Synchronize the raster timing with the timing of the sensor.

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