X-rays transformed medicine a century ago by providing a noninvasive way to detect internal structures in the body. Still, they have limitations: X-rays cannot image the body’s soft tissues, except with the use of contrast-enhancing agents that must be swallowed or injected, and their resolution is limited. But a new approach developed by researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) could dramatically change that, enabling the most detailed images ever — including clear views of soft tissue without any need for contrast agents. The work was presented by MIT postdoc Shuo Cheng during the 13th International Workshop on Micro and Nanotechnology for Power Generation and Energy Conversion Applications (PowerMEMS 2013), which was held from December 3 to 6 in London.
The new technology “could make X-rays ubiquitous, because of its higher resolution, the fact that the dose would be smaller and the hardware smaller, cheaper, and more capable than current X-rays,” says Luis Velásquez-García, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratories and senior author of the PowerMEMS paper. The research, which also included MIT postdoc Frances Hill and graduate student Eric Heubel, was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Read the article on MIT News.