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X-ray imagery for industrial applications

Researchers at the Development Centre for X-Ray Technology EZRT, a division of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), have developed Mulix – an X-ray detector capable of delivering high-quality 3D images in almost real time. Designed for industrial computed tomography (CT), the X-ray detector will make it possible to precisely reconstruct processes occurring inside materials.

The new system combines the benefits of single-line and flat-panel detectors, allowing quick image capture and flexibility whilst maintaining high image quality. A flat-panel detector gives a 2D image of the entire object but causes scattered radiation which greatly impairs image quality. A single-line detector is less sensitive to scatter and delivers extremely sharp images. But as it only captures a small portion of the test object, this scanning method is much more time-consuming.

The new equipment essentially uses multiple single-line detectors to reduce scan time and cover large areas. Mulix uses a total of 256 lines, allowing it to scan larger objects such as car body parts very quickly. The new detector can use CT techniques to make a 3D-scan of an object in near real time.

The researchers also introduced an innovative solution for the detector’s mechanics. Unlike commercially available detectors, it is possible to adjust Mulix’s curvature. This ensures the flexibility that industrial CT needs to adapt the system to the various sizes and material properties of test objects.

The EZRT researchers said that Mulix opens new application opportunities in materials research and quality assurance. They said this would allow the automotive industry, aerospace, and research institutions to observe processes happening within the materials they use. For example, when testing mechanical properties the images can be used to see how a compromising fault starts.

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