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A team led by NASA's Maxim Markevitch is investigating the possibility of building bigger X-ray telescope mirrors – up to thirty times as large as today's – using a plastic tape coated with a reflective material and then, just like a roll of Scotch tape, tightly rolled on itself. By studying cosmic rays and distant galaxy clusters, such large and significantly cheaper mirrors would allow us to learn more about the birth and evolution of the universe. Read More
When we think about a heart operation, it’s only natural to be concerned about the risks faced by the patient. What is overlooked is that the surgeon often faces risks in the operating theater as well. All the modern surgical paraphernalia may make cardiac medicine tremendously more advanced than it was a generation ago, but some of that equipment uses radiation that can be very dangerous to be around ... and surgeons are around it a lot. To help alleviate this, Corindus Vascular Robotics of Natick, Massachusetts, developed the CorPath 200 System. It’s a robot-assisted catheter system for unblocking arteries that allows cardiac surgeons to operate from a protective lead-lined cockpit while carrying out cardiac stent and balloon procedures. Read More
To increase stealth and evade predators, the moth has evolved a remarkable eye that, rather than reflecting light, absorbs it almost completely. Engineers have mimicked its nanostructure in the past to design better solar panel coatings and antireflective surfaces, and are now using the same principle to design a thin film that will absorb radiation from X-ray machines more effectively, exposing patients to a significantly lower risk while obtaining higher quality imaging. Read More
A new X-ray microscope at Brookhaven National Laboratory is being used to create unparalleled high-resolution 3D images of the inner structure of materials. Using techniques similar to taking a very small-scale medical CAT (computer-assisted tomography) scan, the full field transmission x-ray microscope (TXM) enables scientists to directly observe structures spanning 25 nanometers - three thousand times smaller than a red blood cell - by splicing together thousands of images into a single 3D X-ray image with "greater speed and precision than ever before." This capability is expected to power rapid advances in many fields, including energy research, environmental sciences, biology, and national defense. Read More
X-ray computed tomography – or CT – scanners are designed with people of an average build in mind. When obese patients require a CT scan, the additional layers of body fat will produce blurry images if the scanner’s regular settings are used. Clinicians typically address this problem by turning up the power of the scanner. Unfortunately, doing so results in overweight patients receiving higher-than-normal doses of radiation. A new computer modeling system developed at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, however, could help bring those levels down. Read More

When you're learning how to use a complex device, there’s nothing like getting some hands on play time. When it comes to CT (Computed Tomography) scanners, however, it’s often difficult to find a time when they’re not being used on patients. That’s why two biophysics professors at Canada’s Western University invented the DeskCAT. It’s a miniature CT scanner that’s small enough to sit on a desk, so it can be used in medical school classrooms. Read More

To say things are really heating up at the US Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory isn't just a bad pun, it's one hell (sorry) of an understatement. An Oxford-led team used the Stanford-based facility that houses the world's most powerful X-ray laser to create and probe a 2-million-degree Celsius (or about 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit) piece of matter. The experiment allowed the scientists the closest look yet at what conditions might be like in the heart of the Sun, other stars and planets. Read More
Here's an unlikely recipe for successfully spicing up a winter clothes catalog – make the models lose their clothes, or to be more exact, allow your clients to see what is hiding underneath the bulky winter garments. The X-Ray augmented reality app by clothing retailer Moosejaw does exactly that. It uses your mobile device's camera and some augmented reality trickery to grant you X-ray vision, as you scan both female and male models' bodies in the catalog. All you have to do is position your device over the catalog pages. Read More
In order to capture slow-motion footage in which a bullet can actually be seen traveling through the air, a camera has to film at a speed somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 frames per second. Given that as a benchmark, what would be the purpose of a camera that manages a whopping 4.5 million fps? In the case of the UK-based Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)'s new X-ray camera, it's to obtain three-dimensional images of individual molecules. Read More
An international team of scientists has obtained the world’s first single-shot images of intact viruses – a technology that could ultimately lead to moving video of molecules, viruses and live microbes. The team was also able to successfully utilize a new shortcut for determining the 3D structures of proteins. Both advances were achieved using the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser – the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) – which scientists hope could revolutionize the study of life. Read More