X-ray Imaging with Micron Resolution

An x-ray detector is only as good as its image resolution. Our technology, which uses coherent bundles of scintillating fibers, provides a substantial increase in resolution over existing x-ray detector technologies.

Market Opportunity
The usefulness of x-ray imaging’s many medical applications is limited by the image resolution. The x-rays currently used for mammography, for example, are 80–100 microns. The less than 10-micron resolution of x-rays produced with our technology will greatly improve the ability to discern malignancies. The greater resolution produced by our technology will also improve imaging in various scientific and engineering fields.

Innovation and Meaningful Advantages
Our technology includes a methodology for creating coherent bundles of scintillating fibers, also known as glass capillary arrays, to significantly increase the resolution in x-ray detectors to the single-digit micron range. These coherent bundles of scintillating fibers are then placed opposed to a charge-couple device (CCD) camera or integrated with a complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) photodetector. Incident x-rays activate the scintillators in individual fibers, which emit visible light to the camera, which then generates an image. Because scintillator size is correlated with image resolution, the use of coherent bundles of small-diameter scintillating fibers greatly increases the maximum image resolution. 

We intend to create these fibers by infusing a scintillator-embedded plastic into a plate with 3-15 micron-diameter pores. The pore walls have a highly reflective silver coating; a thin refractory buffer layer prevents deterioration of this coating. This reflective cladding structure maximizes photon yield in the pore structure. The bundles have slightly diagonal fibers, which enable four low-cost, high-resolution CMOS sensors to be grouped together, for a large active sensing area. This allows for high-resolution x-rays of large objects without the need for an expensive larger area CMOS detector.

Collaboration Opportunity
We are interested in exploring 1) startup opportunities with investors in the medical imaging space; 2) research collaborations with leading medical imaging companies to further develop this technology; and 3) licensing opportunities with medical imaging companies.

Principal Investigator
Angus I. Kingon, PhD
Barrett Hazeltine University Professor of Entrepreneurship and Organizational Studies
Professor of Engineering
Brown University
Brown Tech ID #2286, 3020, 3030

IP Information
2014-03-06 US9611168B2; issued
2014-03-06 US10358376B2; issued
2014-03-06 US10399887B2; issued
2020-10-16 63/092651; provisional
2020-10-16 63/092,716; provisional

Morse TD, Mostovych N, Gupta R, Murphy T, Weber P, Cherepy N, Adams B, Bifano T, Stankus B, Akif A, Kingon A. Demonstration of a high resolution x-ray detector for medical imaging. Proceedings, Radiation Detectors in Medicine, Industry, and National Security XIX. 2018 Sept. 11;10763. doi.org/10.1117/12.2320723.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Brown Technology Innovations
350 Eddy Street - Box 1949
Providence, RI 02903
Kenneth Breuer
Avilash Cramer
Christopher Bull
Paul Waltz
Ragiv Gupta
Theodore Morse
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