Press "Enter" to skip to content

Revolutionizing Cancer Care With Bendable X-Ray Detectors

The University of Surrey has introduced a breakthrough in flexible X-ray detectors that are cost-effective and mimic human tissue, offering significant advancements over traditional, rigid detectors in medical and security applications. Credit: University of Surrey

New tissue-equivalent materials developed at the University of Surrey could pave the way for a new generation of flexible X-ray detectors, with potential applications ranging from cancer treatment to better airport scanners.

Traditionally, X-ray detectors are made of heavy, rigid materials such as silicon or germanium. New, flexible detectors are cheaper and can be shaped around the objects that need to be scanned, improving accuracyHow close the measured value conforms to the correct value.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>accuracy when screening patients and reducing risk when imaging tumors and administering radiotherapy.

Breakthrough in X-ray Detector Technology

Dr. Prabodhi Nanayakkara, who led the research at the University of Surrey, said: “This new material is flexible, low-cost, and sensitive. But what’s exciting is that this material is tissue equivalent. This paves the way for live dosimetry, which just isn’t possible with current technology.”

Most of the X-ray detectors on the market today are heavy, rigid, energy-consuming, and expensive if a large area needs to be covered.

Substances built up of hydrogen and carbon, known as organic semiconductorsSemiconductors are a type of material that has electrical conductivity between that of a conductor (such as copper) and an insulator (such as rubber). Semiconductors are used in a wide range of electronic devices, including transistors, diodes, solar cells, and integrated circuits. The electrical conductivity of a semiconductor can be controlled by adding impurities to the material through a process called doping. Silicon is the most widely used material for semiconductor devices, but other materials such as gallium arsenide and indium phosphide are also used in certain applications.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>semiconductors, offer a more flexible solution, but until now, did not allow as detailed an X-ray image to be produced as traditional detectors.

Innovative Developments and Applications

To solve this challenge, scientists at the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute created devices based on an ink by adding low quantities of high atomic number elements to an organic semiconductor.

Building on the team’s previous research in this field, their new detector behaves more like human tissue under X-rays, which could lead to new, safer techniques for administering radiotherapy, mammography, and radiography. Their findings are published in the journal Advanced Science.

Professor Ravi Silva, director of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute, said: “This new technology could be used in a variety of settings, such as radiotherapy, scanning historical artifacts and in security scanners. The University of Surrey together with its spin-out SilverRay Ltd continues to lead the way in flexible X-ray detectors – we’re pleased to see the technology shows real promise for a range of uses.”

Co-author, Professor Martin Heeney, Imperial College LondonEstablished on July 8, 1907, by Royal Charter, Imperial College London is a public research university in London with a focus on science, engineering, medicine, and business. Its main campus is located in South Kensington, and it has an innovation campus in White City, a research field station at Silwood Park, and teaching hospitals throughout London. Its full legal name is the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Imperial College London, commented: “We have been developing heavy analogs of traditional organic semiconductors for some time, and we were intrigued when Dr. Imalka Jayawardena suggested their application in X-ray detectors. These results are very exciting, especially considering this was the first material investigated, and there is plenty of scope for further improvements.”

Reference: “Tissue Equivalent Curved Organic X-ray Detectors Utilizing High Atomic Number Polythiophene Analogues” by M. Prabodhi A. Nanayakkara, Qiao He, Arvydas Ruseckas, Anushanth Karalasingam, Lidija Matjacic, Mateus G. Masteghin, Laura Basiricò, Ilaria Fratelli, Andrea Ciavatti, Rachel C. Kilbride, Sandra Jenatsch, Andrew J. Parnell, Beatrice Fraboni, Andrew Nisbet, Martin Heeney, K. D. G. Imalka Jayawardena and S. Ravi P. Silva, 2 November 2023, Advanced Science.
DOI: 10.1002/advs.202304261

Source: SciTechDaily