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A team of researchers at the Florida state university have come up with a novel bendable material that can be made into X-ray detectors, what's more, the devices are less harmful to the environment compared to currently available devices with similar function.
You can find the published paper in Nature Communications.
The research team is led by Biwu Ma, a chemistry and biochemistry professor. He remarks that "Developing low-cost scintillation materials that can be easily manufactured and that perform well remains a great challenge," and that their work paves the way for exploring new approaches to create these important devices.
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X-ray scintillators take the radiation of an X-ray and convert it into light in the visible spectrum. They are fairly common, you can find these in your dentist's office or in airport security divisions. We have several methods of producing these scintillators, but, many of them are either expensive or hard to produce, or both. Some recent methods saw the use of lead, but as we all know, lead is quite toxic.
So that's why, Ma's team came up with a different approach. They utilized compound organic manganese halide and combined it with a polymer to make it into a flexible material. This flexibility could also prove useful.
Ma told Florida State University reporters: "Researchers have made scintillators with a variety of compounds, but this technology offers something that combines low cost with high performance and environmentally friendly materials. When you also consider the ability to make flexible scintillators, it's a promising avenue to explore."
Recently, Ma and his team were granted a fund from the GAP Commercialization Investment Program thanks to the Florida State University Office of the Vice President for Research. We hope to see this turning into a commercially available product.