“X-ray machines are huge and require tremendous amounts of electricity,” says engineer Scott Kovaleski. “In approximately three years, we could have a prototype hand-held X-ray scanner using our invention. The cell-phone-sized device could improve medical services in remote and impoverished regions and reduce health care expenses everywhere.” (Credit: University of Missouri)

Posted by Timothy Wall-Missouri on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 16:48

Crystal power could shrink X-ray scanners

U. MISSOURI (US) — A compact source of radiation about the size of a stick of gum could one day be used to create inexpensive portable X-ray scanners.

“Currently, X-ray machines are huge and require tremendous amounts of electricity,” says Scott Kovaleski, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri.

“In approximately three years, we could have a prototype hand-held X-ray scanner using our invention. The cell-phone-sized device could improve medical services in remote and impoverished regions and reduce health care expenses everywhere.”

As reported in the journal IEEE Transaction on Plasma Science, the device uses a crystal to produce more than 100,000 volts of electricity from only 10 volts of electrical input with low power consumption. Having such a low need for power could allow the crystal to be fueled by batteries.

Read more: Futurity – Crystal power could shrink X-ray scanners.

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