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New X-ray camera: 3D images with minimum radiation

A research team at the Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear of Instituto Superior Técnico (IPFN-IST) is developing a pioneering X-ray technology that will allow 3D imaging of the inside of the human body, using low doses of radiation.

Six European research centres and a company make up the VOXEL consortium, led by Marta Fajardo, a FCT Investigator at IPFN-IST. VOXEL is one of the 26 FET (Future Emerging Technologies) proposals selected in the latest call of this Horizon2020 programme, out of 643 proposals that were submitted. The project´s multidisciplinary research team of experts in the fields of sensors, X-rays, metrology, tomography and three-dimensional images reconstruction, have €3.99 million funding to develop the innovative X-ray camera.

The team’s approach is based on plenoptic image technology, which entails using a special photographic sensor that registers both the image and the direction of the light rays. The data is then processed to reconstruct a three-dimensional image, which has voxels (3D) rather than pixels (2D) .

The new camera will be an upgraded alternative to traditional X-ray imaging, with a wide range of potential applications, from dentistry, traumatology and cancer detection to materials study.

Marta Fajardo highlights that “this new technology will allow x-ray images to be obtained using lower radiation exposures, unlike the current technologies, which, due to the risks associated with ionising radiation, are used only in the most serious cases.”