A research team from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) works on a new diagnostic capability. A large capacity: it will provide, for the first time, the possibility of making X-ray radiographic films.
The first experiment that tested the principle is called Bipolar Reset Experiment (BIRX): Nathaniel Pogue, leader of the accelerator physics group in LLNL's national security engineering division, said the experiment showed for the first time that a solid-state pulsed energy system was used to accelerate an electron beam.
This work will allow scientists to create X-ray movies of elements of interest with each frame 10 to 100 nanosecond seconds apart once a full accelerator is built. Each pulse of the beam will act as a frame in the movie.Nathaniel Pogue, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)
Entire X-ray films: possible applications
Making entire X-ray movies would allow researchers working on hydrodynamic experiments, for example, to collect 5 to 10 times more images and data than current capabilities. This means getting a lot more information with a lot fewer experiments.
In the long term future (building and miniaturizing similar equipment to be used in hospitals is now prohibitive), X-ray films will completely revolutionize medical imaging.
Next steps for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers
First, the team will now have to complete the design of a test injector (and this is currently in progress). Then the construction of this test injector will follow, which will take place at the LLNL laboratories. This will help demonstrate an integrated system using this technology capable of producing a beam and accelerating it.