X-ray Phase-contrast Scanning Radiography Systems Using Multi-view Glancing Angle Interferometers

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Unmet Need
Medical imaging is an essential tool for modern medical practice. Imaging techniques such as MRI, X-ray, and ultrasound are used for disease prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of many medical conditions. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages. MRI and ultrasound provide good soft tissue contrast while X-ray does not;  however, X-ray provides good spatial resolution, limited in ultrasound and MRI. This leaves an unmet need in the medical imagining market – there is a need for imaging methods that provide good tissue contrast with strong spatial resolution.
Technology Overview
The proposed technology uses X-ray differential phase-contrast (PC) which is a method that involves using the phase change of the X-ray beam to create images. This method allows to strongly enhance the visibility of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons, blood vessels, arterial plaque, brain tissue and tumors. By using multiple closely spaced views each with a different interferometer phasing, X-ray phase-contrasting can allow for images that offer both good spatial resolution and good soft tissue contrast. This technology can be used for high accuracy mammograms when low X-ray energy is used. With high energy X-rays, the technology can be used for whole-body radiography. At high energy X-ray phase contrast can discriminate very well between arterial wall, low density lipid deposits, and fibrosis or calcified plaque capsule.

It is important to note, that this technology has application outside  of the medical field and can be used, for example, for industrial quality scanning and security imaging. Objects such as suitcases can be scanned for security purposes, while composite industrial objects can be scanned for defects using this technology.
Stage of Development
A prototype has been developed and used in trials to demonstrate the feasibility of the technology. Schematics for the commercially usable product have been made by the inventors.
Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
System and Method for Phase-contrast X-Ray Imaging PCT: Patent Cooperation Treaty Japan 2016-566901 6495943 5/1/2015 4/3/2019 5/1/2035 Granted
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PHASE-CONTRAST X-RAY IMAGING PCT: Patent Cooperation Treaty European Patent Office 15788573.2 3139836 5/1/2015 7/7/2021 5/1/2035 Granted
System and Method for Phase Contrast X-ray Imaging Using a Multi-Sector Source Grating ORD: Ordinary Utility United States 14/701,812 9,632,040 5/1/2015 4/25/2017 6/10/2035 Granted
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Louis Mari
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