Color X-ray scanner uses CERN tech to see all your innards

A magnified X-ray captured by CERN's Medipix

A smaller version of the 3D scanner that's been used for studying cancer and vascular diseases is already yielding promising results, and thanks to the licensing agreement between CERN and MARS, the technology will be commercialized.

What if, instead of a black and white X-ray picture, a doctor of a cancer patient had access to colour images identifying the tissues being scanned?

"Mars scanners use a detector that uses the color or energy information of the x-rays that traditional x-ray detectors don't use", Professor Phil Butler, a physicist working at New Zealand's University of Canterbury who helped invent the Mars scanner, told Digital Trends. They focused on the same scanning mechanism but employed a sophisticated imaging technology developed at CERN called Medipix. Medipix is a family of chips that are utilized for particle detection and imaging.

The CERN technology, dubbed Medipix, works like a camera detecting and counting individual sub-atomic particles as they collide with pixels while its shutter is open.

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This technology is produced by a New Zealand-based company, MARS Bioimaging, with contacting the University of Otago and the University of Canterbury. It allows high resolution and very reliable images that promised to have many more uses than just high-energy physics. The new device will allow to obtain more accurate results for doctors and patients. The Medipix3 chip is now the most advanced chip available.

From developing the Higgs Boston particle, scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research have utilised the technology used for the organisation's Large Hadron Collider, CERN have successfully scanned the human body in 3D colour. As this happens, a sophisticated algorithm uses that information to produce a 3D image with different colors representing different materials scanned.

CERN's Knowledge Transfer group has a long-standing expertise in transferring CERN technologies, in particular for medical applications.

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