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Feb 11, 2022

3D Dark-field Imaging In View with TUM’s Launch of Prototype CT System

- By Jacqueline Wheeler

Franz Pfeiffer, Professor for Biomedical Physics and Director of the Munich Institute of Biomedical Engineering, discusses dark-field imaging with Direct Conversion’s Product Manager, Tuomas Pantsar, next to the prototype CT scanner at its launch this week

Professor Dr Franz Pfeiffer and his team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have made 3D dark-field X-ray images a clinical possibility with the launch of their prototype computed tomography (CT) scanner into which dark field-imaging has been integrated.

Speaking at the launch event in Munich, Professor Pfeiffer announced:

“For the first time, we showed that dark-field X-ray technology can also be integrated into a clinical CT scanner. Although this technology is in its early stages, pre-clinical studies with mice have demonstrated clear benefits from dark-field CT scans, especially for capturing images of lung tissue.

The benefits of computed tomography for rapid and exact diagnosis of severe medical conditions are already acknowledged. By combining this established technology with dark-field imaging, Dr Pfeiffer’s team have overcome complex technical challenges to create a clinical scanner that can add valuable depth of information for the identification and assessment of disease.

Manuel Viermetz, one of the two first authors of the study, described how the TUM scanner could improve diagnostic information gathering:

With the dark-field CT prototype, we can capture conventional and dark-field X-ray images in a single scan. This yields additional information that could be used in the future not only to diagnose lung diseases, but also to differentiate between various types of kidney stones and tissue deposits.

The new CT prototype has already been used successfully with a thorax phantom, a model of a human upper body, and is large enough for the intended applications with real patients.

Professor Dr Franz Pfeiffer has spoken frequently on the potential of photon counting X-ray detectors and, in discussion with Direct Conversion’s Dr York Haemisch, he explained how the TUM CT system could be even more effective with the integration of the advanced X-ray detector technology:

We are very glad about having reached this significant milestone in bringing this technology to the brink of clinical application. While currently it is still based on conventional CT detectors the use of photon counting detectors has the potential to further enhance it in terms of resolution and sensitivity.”

For more information follow this link to the Technical University of Munich.