Innovative modular combination of imaging methods using collaborative robotic system. Radalyx enables real time 3D scanning of the objects from any angle with flexible robotic arms, quick handling, easy programming and simple data interpretation. Examples of the tools used by Radalyx are X-ray computed tomography, macro-photography, air-coupled ultrasound and material resolving X-ray. Radalyx can detect even the smallest defects in various products and overcome the common limitations of X-ray inspection.
Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) is inspection, test, or evaluation of materials, components or assemblies for discontinuities, or differences in characteristics without destroying the serviceability of the sample. Standard radiographic X-ray imaging provides a black and white intensity or density image of the inspected sample where defects, impurities or cracks are observed if the resolution and the signal over the noise of the image is appropriate. The spectral NDT X-ray imaging based on photon counting provides additional material information of the samples together with a superior contrast and high spatial resolution. The spectral material information is used to discriminate different materials that can be used to identify the materials of interest or to calculate their amount in the sample. A single exposure high resolution spectral image taken with WidePIX 5×5 CdTe of a PCB unveils different components in different colors.
Small Animal Spectral Imaging
Cancer research, bio-mechanics, and drug testing are just a few examples of where X-ray imaging contributes to research in biology and medicine. New photon counting detectors represent a serious advancement for these applications, compared to previously used synchrotrons. The energy sensitivity of modern cameras opens better possibilities to identify individual types of tissue. That has important consequences in various industries, for example cancer research, where the tumor tissue can be better distinguished from the healthy one.
The high sensitivity of photon counting detectors to low energy photons makes them useful for imaging low X-ray attenuating objects (i.e. light objects, such as tissue.) Thus, these detectors are ideal for bio-related applications. The low X-ray energy sensitivity (starting from ~3 keV) together with the high dynamic range reveals features in samples that remain hidden to other types of X-ray imaging detectors.
Mining and geology
Resources mined from Earth fuel our society. However, efficient, eco-friendly mining is a must if we want to keep the economy and society sustainable. Cheap, fast exploration for mineral resources is required. Geology is a tool to understand our planet and also to help find resources still undiscovered.
The energy sensitive photon counting detectors can help in this area thanks to the option of material identification in images. Drill cores from exploration bore holes can be now analyzed in-situ identifying different minerals and providing immediate feedback for further exploration.
Online monitoring of technological processes during mineral processing is another very important area where X-ray material resolved imaging plays an important role. It helps to increase effectivity of processing and reduce energy consumption leading not only to reduced costs, but also to lower environmental effects.
Authentication of art
Study and characterization of art pieces, namely paintings, using X-ray imaging is becoming an increasingly important area. It is useful for galleries, museums and collectors to improve conservation and preservation methods. It is important for art buyers to reliably authenticate the works. The advanced X-ray imaging techniques provide detailed data for insurance companies to assess risks involved in transportation of art.
The spectral imaging capability of Advacam’s detectors enables identification of different pigments based on their spectral responses. A “colour” X-ray image is then created where the colours are associated to different pigments identified in the painting. The recognition of pigments even in invisible lower layers can serve as an important clue in the process of art authentication.
X-ray diffraction is analytical method based on inspection of crystalline structure of samples used in applications, such as metallurgy, mineralogy, powders, pigments, polymers, surface layers and strain mapping. The traditional X-ray diffraction uses monochromatic X-rays which make the apparatus large and slow. ADVACAM’s spectral detectors based on Timepix3 chip with high resolution makes the diffraction system fast and compact. The sample analysis can be performed 100 times faster compared to the conventional systems. Due to fast speed of the analysis large areas of the sample can be analysed by scanning.
The polychromatic X-ray beam (instead of monochromatic) can be used with ADVACAM’s energy dispersive detectors. Polychromatic X-ray diffraction system is compact and less complex than the one with monochromatic X-ray that require mechanically moving parts. The high resolution spectral detector can be placed close to the sample covering large solid angle.
MiniPIX EDU together with proprietary RadView visualisation software brings modern nuclear technology of radiation imaging to the classrooms and let students discover the invisible world of ionizing radiation surrounding us.
Students can see radioactivity of common materials and objects such as piece of granit, ash or paper bag from vacuum cleaner or face mask. They can explore variation of the air radioactivity during the day, hunt for cosmic muons and check their directions, see how altitude affects presence of radiation types. They can try to prepare their own (safe) radioactive source and try to construct the shielding against radiation it emits. They can check the laws of radioactive decay. Students can directly observe how different radiation types interact with matter and what happens then.
Check project CERN@school at CERN or at IRIS website and examples of experiments for secondary schools here.
X-ray crystallography is used to study detailed atomic or molecular structure of the sample at synchrotrons. High frame rate AdvaPIX QUAD is specially designed for combined Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (WAXS) and Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS). The open space in the center of the camera allows the X-ray beam pass through the camera eliminating complete the need to use a beam stop in front of the camera.
Charge particle tracking and space dosimetry
NASA together with IEAP CTU and University of Houston has used MiniPIX type of cameras in the International Space Station (ISS) to track charged particles and measure their energy deposited to study and surveil the radiation exposure that astronauts face in space. It is possible to measure accurately the dose in the complex environment of space where the radiation environment is completely different than on surface of the Earth.
NASA is flying the ADVACAM’s ModuPIX Tracker in the International Space Station since March 2017. The goal of the project is to demonstrate the capability to determine the directional characteristics of charged particle energy spectra in space.
High resolution neutron imaging
AdvaPIX camera with detector coated by thin film of LiF is able to achieve ultra-high spatial resolution for thermal neutron imaging. The camera offers sigma of Point-Spread-Function spatial resolution of up to 2.5 µm. The camera’s field of view is 14×14 mm that gives at the maximum resolution 6.5 MPix.
The camera is equipped with a Silicon sensor with neutron conversion layer of 6LiF. Thermal neutrons are captured by 6Li that produces Alpha particles and tritons. These heavy charged particles are then detected in the Silicon sensor. The ultra high spatial resolution is achieved by processing of individual neutron hits while taking into account also charge collection in the sensor. All this advanced processing is implemented in the camera software, which is simple to use.
The leading detector technology, which Advacam uses for its products and solutions, is based on Medipix hybrid pixel detectors. These devices were developed within international collaboration of universities and research laboratories lead by team at CERN during past 20 years. Advacam team’s members have been part of the Medipix Collaboration from it inception and have been contributing to the technology.
Advacam’s imaging cameras are direct conversion single photon counting pixel detectors that represent the cutting edge of current radiation imaging technology. The term “single photon counting” means that every single photon of X-ray radiation detected in individual pixel is processed and counted. The technology brings two major advantages in comparison to the conventional X-ray imaging – high contrast together with sharp images and spectral information of X-rays that allows material specific information to be displayed in colors.
In the direct conversion cameras each pixel of the semiconductor crystal is directly connected to the complex CMOS circuit using a conductive solder bump. In the indirect conversion cameras a scintillation layer is attached on top of a photodiode. The photodiodes manufactured on a simple CMOS circuit that enables fine pixel sizes.
The photon counting principle of detection eliminates all other sources of noise that are present in CCD or flat-panel based cameras. This leads to considerably better signal-to-noise ratio and therefore detectability of more details in images. The images sharpness or the actual spatial resolution of the captured image is defined by the electric charge in the CMOS readout. Even thought the pixel size of of the direct converting cameras is larger than that of the conventional indirect conversion cameras, the signal of the detected X-rays is better focused into the pixels. The typical size of a direct conversion pixel ranges from few milli meters to tens of micro meters where Advacam represents the highest pixel density of the current industrial X-ray cameras with 55 um pixel size.
The energy sensitivity is as important advancement of the imaging technology as was the colour photography and film. Contrary to regular X-ray imaging cameras, the photon counting cameras can discriminate or even directly measure energy (wavelength) of incoming photons. Since each element of the sample has different X-ray attenuating properties, it is possible to estimate material composition of the sample if the energy of the photons is measured. Tthe spectral sensitivity offers major improvement over the conventional X-ray imaging cameras.