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Jun 05, 2021

Highlights: iWoRiD 2021

- By Jacqueline Wheeler

Dr York Haemisch, our Director Medical and Research Markets, was impressed by the innovative imaging approaches and technologies on view at the online iWoRiD 2021 workshop. Here, York takes us through his highlights from a week that drew together some 120 leading experts in detector research from across the world.

Day 1 and iWoRiD’s compelling programme placed the conference right at the forefront of developments in X-ray detectors. We explored X-ray spectroscopy at MHz frame rates  and progressed onto quantum entangled PET imaging. But all of us were intrigued by the alluring prospect of “detectors for measuring charm and beauty”!

Our Direct Conversion detector was at the centre of my highlight lecture of the day, X-ray Edge Illumination Phase Contrast Imaging Techniques, Principles and Applications. Presenter, Marco Endrizzi, joined us from University College London and showed us 2D and 3D (CT) applications of the technique, using our detector, and focused on the potential impact of the method for therapy, monitoring and follow up in breast cancer patients. Especially impressive was the correlation with histology.

Muography was our study for Day 2. For those who are new to this imaging method, the talks were fascinating, so I’ve decided it deserves this short introduction…

“Muography produces a projectional image of a target volume by recording elementary particles called muons, either electronically or chemically with materials that are sensitive to charged particles such as nuclear emulsions. Cosmic rays from outer space generate muons in the Earth’s atmosphere as a result of nuclear reactions between primary cosmic rays and atmospheric nuclei. They are highly penetrative and millions of muons pass through our bodies every day.

Muography utilizes muons by tracking the number of muons that pass through the target volume to determine the density of the inaccessible internal structure. It is a technique similar in principle to radiography but capable of surveying much larger objects. Since muons are less likely to interact, stop and decay in low density matter than high density matter, a larger number of muons will travel through the low density regions of target objects in comparison to higher density regions. The apparatuses record the trajectory of each event to produce a muogram that displays the matrix of the resulting numbers of transmitted muons after they have passed through hectometer to kilometer-sized objects. The internal structure of the object, imaged in terms of density, is displayed by converting muograms to muographs.”

The University of Catania presented a particularly interesting use of muography for the investigation of magma from Mount Etna.

Subsequent talks on Day 2 took us through specific designs of detectors for particular experiments at synchrotrons and other X-ray light sources. Attention was given to imaging and spectroscopy of light X-rays (below 30 kV).

It was a real pleasure to see 100 people online for the Direct Conversion Industry Talk in the afternoon. I presented an overview of the origins of Direct Conversion, our groundbreaking technological capabilities, strategic orientation and products. Most importantly, it was a chance to preview, to an audience eager for innovation, our next generation area detector, the  XC-Pyxis. The XC-Pyxis promises to open up a world of opportunities for X-ray, including large area imaging for clinical CBCT.

News from CERN came on Day 3 of the workshop, with the latest developments from their large detectors, such as ATLAS and LHCb.

Maastricht University delivered another of my highlights, with its presentation on the imaging of macromolecules in biological samples using PC detectors, providing the first report of single-ion imaging of protein complexes.

And so to the poster sessions, where I enjoyed posters on the characterization of CdTe detector material and charge sharing effects in such, and their correction and use for even higher resolution. Also, the technological aspects such as TSV and ASICs design were discussed.

Finally, on the last day of the workshop, we were directed to look to outer space, where detectors can be used in particle identification, as well as radiation damage effects in semiconductor detectors

This week of presentations demonstrated the ability of science to surpass what we anticipate and overcome even the challenges of a pandemic. I am sure I speak for all my colleagues and fellow attendees when I say we are very much looking forward to meeting again in person for iWoRiD, Riva del Garda on 26-30 June 2022!