Space technology-inspired high-resolution X-ray camera to help dentists

Washington: A Swedish company has taken inspiration from an advanced technique used for miniaturising space hardware to make a visit to the dentist a little more comfortable.

The tiny new high-resolution X-ray camera captures pictures that are dramatically more detailed and with higher contrast than the conventional X-ray machines widely used.

The heart of the camera is a tiny ‘structured scintillator’ device that converts X-rays to visible light. The camera was designed by Scint-X and the scintillator was built by Swedish company Nanospace.

In fact, the production technology has already been used by Nanospace to cut the world``s smallest rocket motor out of silicon wafers.

"Our scintillator uses a specially structured silicon substrate and with this unique and patented manufacturing technique we can obtain substantially higher resolution than what is on the market today," explained Per Wiklund of Scint-X.

The X-ray unit inserted into the patient’s mouth is much thinner than today’s models, making the procedure more comfortable.

Scint-X’s innovative technology also has potential for use in space. The Swedish Space Corporation is planning to use the camera aboard a rocket in May 2011 by ESA.

“Our camera provides a resolution that is better than five microns and will be used to study the melting and solidification of metals when producing exotic materials in weightlessness," explained Wiklund.


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