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Industry and Academia Team up to Improve X-Ray Imaging

The University College London (UCL) is joining forces with Nikon to launch a $6m Prosperity Partnership, which aims to combine new techniques to gain more information from X-rays.

The five-year initiative is funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), and will put the U.K. at the forefront of X-ray imaging (XRI), which plays an important role in a range of sectors and industries, from security to medicine, manufacturing, aerospace and cultural heritage.

Researchers working on the project will create images based on changes in the X-ray phase, similar to the process of creating holograms with visible light, which will reveal details that were previously considered impossible to detect through X-rays.

They will then look to combine this with energy-resolved XRI, which further increases the amount of information that can be obtained from any imaged sample in a similar way to what color photography does compared to black and white. The project could have major repercussions across a range of sectors and improve scanners at airports.

Project lead Professor Sandro Olivo (UCL Medical Physics & Biomedical Engineering) said: “It is terribly exciting to be given this opportunity. This is not about improving an existing method – it’s about creating radical new technology that is not currently available, with great social and economic impact.

“It is a truly challenging program, but this partnership gives us the right opportunity to achieve our goals – Nikon has been incredibly supportive since the beginning, and by working together we will make this happen.”

The Prosperity Partnerships are supported by nearly $60 million of funding from the EPSRC, industry partners and academia. The UCL partnership with Nikon is funded by almost $4 million from the EPSRC, approximately $3 million from Nikon and $0.5 million from UCL.

EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Lynn Gladden said: “By combining expertise from across academia and industry, the Prosperity Partnerships will break new ground in areas of fundamental research that also provide major commercial opportunities.”

Read more at UCL

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