Colorado researchers edging closer to tabletop X-rays

Darren Murph
D. Murph|02.26.07

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Colorado researchers edging closer to tabletop X-rays
Although improvements on the typical X-ray are being made quite frequently of late, a team of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder is hoping to make a huge leap forward in the way we're forced to handle these traditionally burdensome machines. In an effort to reduce the size required to install and utilize your average X-ray machine, the crew has purportedly developed a new technique to "generate laser-like X-ray beams" that avoid the existing need for such a "monstrous power source." The end goal is, of course, a tabletop device that can handle uber-high resolution imaging at a fraction of the cost and size of current units. It all starts by using "a powerful laser to pluck an electron from an atom of argon and then slam it back into the same atom," which then bypasses the typical problem of X-ray waves "not marching in step" by sending "weak pulses of visible laser light into the gas in the opposite direction of the laser beam generating the X-rays." The feeble beam reportedly "manipulates the electrons plucked from the argon atoms" in order to perfectly intensify the strength of the process by "over a hundred times." Essentially, the researchers have devised a more controlled way to perfect the timing of X-ray blasts, and are utilizing light to focus the process rather than using gobs of energy as it hopes enough undirected beams strike the intended area. Per usual, we've no idea just how close this idea is to becoming ready for the commercial world, but considering all the competition that's currently out there, we don't envision these Buffs wasting any precious time.
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