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Multi-Purpose X-ray System, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The proposed Multi-Purpose X-ray Source and System (MPXS) can be used on flight missions, space stations, planetary excursions and planetary or asteroid bases, to meet nearly all NASA imaging needs in the Exploration Medical Condition List (EMCL). This includes a range of radiographic imaging modalities - 2D, digital tomosynthesis and half or full CT to cover routine and emergency imaging needs. The MPXS source is comprised of sections, each designed for a specific range of x-ray imaging conditions. The source is currently designed as a rectangular box made primarily of aluminum nitride (AlN) sheets. Each AlN sidewall has a window that allows x-ray flux to exit. The window can be a hollow section of the sidewall or a thin strip of low Z material over a window aperture in the sidewall. Thin strips of metal can be placed over the windows for beam filtration. Each window will output flux from one or more rows of spots (x-ray pixels, or xels) on the metal anode inside, for example a 1 x 30 xel row. These xels are digitally addressed with separate electron beams from field emission cold cathodes in the cathode array. The system will comprise one or more sources, paired with one or more digital x-ray detectors, controlled by software loaded on a laptop or mission systems. Each pair will weigh less than 0.1% of a current tomographic imaging system in less than 0.1% of the volume. Extensions to the source design can reduce these figures even further. The programmability of the x-ray flux sequences/patterns from the sources will enable the range of imaging modalities, and make MPXS well suited to use with emerging AI capabilities in radiographic diagnosis. More »

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