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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H046577/1
Title: HEXITEC: Translation grant. The application of colour X-ray imaging
Principal Investigator: Cernik, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Brinkman, Professor AW Seller, Mr P Pani, Dr S
Barnes, Professor P Sellin, Professor PJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Materials
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 04 January 2011 Ends: 30 June 2014 Value (£): 1,241,448
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Instrumentation Eng. & Dev. Materials Characterisation
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2010 Basic Tech Translation Grants Call 5 Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
X-ray colour imaging has the potential to visualise the physical and chemical nature of a specimen spatially resolved within a three dimensional density contrast image. X-ray colour imaging makes it possible to recognise, for example, whether complex manufactured components used in the aerospace industry are likely to fail through cracks or fatigue stress; or whether a suitcase contains illicit substances such as semtex or cocaine; or whether a biopsy sample contains normal or abnormal tissue. A full X-ray colour imaging system requires energy sensitive detectors that are divided into small discrete pixels and can stop high energy X-rays. In addition the scattered radiation from the sample often has to be very finely collimated because we are looking for very weak signals. Five years ago neither suitable detector material nor scatter control systems were available. The latter problem was addressed (by another EPSRC grant) but there was no reliable source of detector material anywhere in the world. The lack of technological expertise within the UK to produce suitable detector systems led to the formation of the HEXITEC consortium (High Energy X-ray Imaging Technology; www.hexitec.co.uk). HEXITEC has developed every stage of detector system manufacture and has very recently demonstrated its first 20 by 20 pixel prototype as a forerunner of a full 80 by 80 device that will be delivered early in 2010. We are now requesting funds to take the HEXITEC developed technology to the next stage of development in three work programmes covering four broad applications at different stages of development. Work package 1: Fluorescence tomography for materials imaging We will use the 80 by 80 pixel detector systems developed by HEXITEC for both purposes. Fluorescence tomography is based on a standard absorptive method where the sample is rotated in the beam and many sections are mathematically recombined to give a 3D image. The crucial difference here is that we will be able to do this in discreet energy ranges. We will obtain slices that can be energy selected in 800eV ranges or better. We will deliver a lab based system to produce element specific images. Work package 2: The appliaction of TEDDI to materails identificatication and security scanningThe TEDDI method uses scattered (not directly transmitted) X-rays which contain information on the crystal structure at each point within the sample. TEDDI uses multiple parallel collimators to obtain its spatial resolution and the sample does not need to be rotated in the same way as standard tomography. We will make a lab based TEDDI system to identify specific materials at each part of a complex sample on a 1x10-3 mm3 spatial scale. We will also work with our partners Kromek ltd who originally spun out of the Durham University Physics Department. They are developing scanners for threat identification at airports. We will jointly develop the TEDDI technology with HEXITEC detectors to recognise materials based on their coherent scattered signals. This is a much more reliable test than relying on purely absorptive information. In conjunction with existing methods the false alarm rate can be significantly reduced. Work package 3: Tissue BiopsyMany soft tissue types have very similar diffraction patterns especially those with a high water content, however certain types of breast cancers have been shown to be quite easily distinguishable from normal tissue by energy dispersive diffraction methods. We intend to develop, jointly with the Royal Surry and Marsden hospitals, an X-ray tissue biopsy modality. By using HEXITEC detector systems we will obtain unique information about specific tissue types that will significantly reduce the number of false positives. This is a vital aim because a false diagnosis leads to great deal of unnecessary discomfort and distress to the patient.
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk