X-rays are a somewhat widely used tool that enables features that cannot be observed through the use of visible light to be observed.
This is in view of their highly penetrating nature through most materials.
As such, these are used in medical imaging such as mamography, dentistry, evaluation of the mechanical integrity of pipes, ships, planes, identifying any undesired metallic contaminants during food processing among many others.
In order to see or image features using X-rays, detectors which are somewhat similar in nature to cameras used in cell phones are employed.
However, due to their design being based on established physical principles for bulk materials, these often require the use of high X-ray doses for features to be clearly observed.
is a start-up company that is aimed at disrupting the manner in which X-ray detection is conducted.
The team at SilverRay have been able to develop a detector based on nanotechnology that enables a dose that is nearly 10-100 times lower than is used by current standard technologies.
Surprisingly, we have identified this capability to be nearly x100-1000 higher than what is expected if the established rules used by the radiation physics community is followed.
Therefore we believe that a new mechanism that has not been previously utilised in the X-ray detector technology is at the heart of this observed enhancement.
A potential origin for the observed enhancements is the scattering of X-rays from nanoscale features.
This is somewhat similar to the process that is often used by astrophysicists in order to identify dust particles in space (X-ray astronomy).
While the team at SilverRay have managed to support this theory based on computer simulations, we are now gathering evidence to work towards experimentally proving this hypothesis.
We believe that the use of specific measurement technologies that are able to identify a signature peak when a sample is hit by X-rays of single energy will help us to prove the mechanism.
In the event that the proposed mechanism does indeed take place, we expect to see a distribution of peaks much like when the sample is hit by a probe consisting of X-rays of different energies.
We believe that the team at the National Physical Laboratory with their extensive experience in developing metrology tools and measurement tools similar to what we are interested in, will be an ideal partner that will enable this characterisation problem to be solved.