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FleX-RAY: An Exploration of the Future of X-ray Imaging

Fri, 24 November, 2023

In September 2020, a consortium of five partners from around Europe – TWI Hellas, The University of Sheffield, RISE Institute, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and Optoelectronica from around Europe (Greece, United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Romania) – joined forces to research and develop an innovative X-ray imaging detector with a unique combination of features including flexibility and reusability. Now, a little over three years later, project FleX-RAY, funded under the European Horizon 2020 programme, is coming to an end.

The potential to bring about a method that could overcome existing restrictions around flexibility and material costs, especially in non-destructive testing applications, has been prominent in digital imaging. The FleX-RAY project, titled Inherently Flexible X-Ray, Imaging Detector Using Single Photon Avalanche Photodiodes and Scintillating Fibres, focuses on taking steps towards making the accurate imaging of complex geometries possible, while aiming to explore the possibility of decreasing manufacturing and maintenance costs. To do so, the work touched upon different fields of science, from material engineering and digital electronics to fibre optics and advanced signal processing. Thus far, the project partners have taken part in events such as the International Conference on Position Sensitive Detectors, Photonics West, IEEE Sensors and the International Workshop on Radiation Imaging Detectors, as well as contributed work to the IOP Journal of Instrumentation.

Nikos Panagopoulos, Senior Hardware Engineer at TWI Hellas, says, “It has been a challenging but exciting journey exploring a novel approach to performing X-ray imaging. We have worked with some of the most cutting-edge technologies in fibre optics and high-speed electronics to spatially detect photons and convert the signals into an image. The results of the work so far have left us satisfied and eager to take this technology into the next phase. I had the pleasure of being part of a consortium of highly skilled professionals whose commitment and quality work delivered amazing results.”

To mark the project’s conclusion, a final, online FleX-RAY webinar will be held on 7 December 2023, dedicated to showcasing how the technology has progressed thus far, with project members Nikos Panagopoulos, Nazila Safari Yazd, Jannis Koch and Scott Wilbur presenting on scintillating fibre manufacturing, photon counting electronics, 3D shape sensing and image reconstruction, as well as sharing some proof-of-concept results.

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