The iconic black-and-white X-rays could soon be a thing of the past thanks to the development of a new color X-ray system by New Zealand scientists.
The technology is called Medipix, and it is quite extraordinary. It was developed by Europe’s CERN lab and uses the same particle-tracking technology as the Large Hadron Collider.
The color X-ray is clearer, sharper, and easier to look at than traditional X-rays. Also, you can see muscle, cartilage, and bone, giving doctors a more comprehensive 3-D rendering of what’s going on inside someone’s body, reported Yahoo News. Even more than that, the color X-ray can show water, fat, and even disease markers.
Black-and-white X-rays use rays to create an image by beaming a ray through the body. The result is that denser parts of the body like bone is clearer, while soft tissue is harder to see.
Meanwhile, the new technology uses a “Spectral CT” scanner with a Medipix3 chip that counts sub-atomic particles as they collide with pixels. Not only that, the information is run through an algorithm to create the final image, detailed New Atlas.
The technology works by “detecting and counting individual sub-atomic particles as they collide with pixels while its shutter is open.”
Developer Phil Butler from the University of Canterbury elaborated, saying the “small pixels and accurate energy resolution meant that this new imaging tool is able to get images that no other imaging tool can achieve.”
The tool was recently just tested on a human for the first time, with stunning results. Another developer, Anthony Butler, said that “in all of these studies, promising early results suggest that when spectral imaging is routinely used in clinics it will enable more accurate diagnosis and personalization of treatment.”
Clinical trials are expected to take place in the next few months in New Zealand.
This comes just a month after CERN scientists implemented an upgrade on the Large Hadron Collider. This was the result of a decade of work, which cost around $953 million. The upgrade will allow scientists to review even more data, as now the number of particle collisions has been increased “tenfold,” according to Reuters. In fact, last year, the LHC produced 3 million Higgs bosons, while with the upgrade, the LHC will produce at least 15 million Higgs bosons annually.
Director-General Fabiola Gianotti said, “for me personally, solving the mystery of the dark matter of the universe would be something great… Of course it would be fantastic to produce the dark matter particle in the collision of LHC beams.”