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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."