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New chips using electronics developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory and another lab may help greatly reduce radiation exposure during X-rays.

Most of us have to get X-rayed from time to time, whether it’s for a checkup at the dentist, a broken bone, or soft tissue imaging for things like mammograms or checking for lung diseases.

Apart from medical examinations, X-ray diagnostic tools are widely used in research institutions and labs for nondestructive probes. Modern X-rays require a much lower dose of radiation than they once did, but the X-ray technician is still likely to drape you in a lead apron to prevent inadvertent exposure of other areas of your body.

A new X-ray detector prototype is on the brink of revolutionizing medical imaging, potentially reducing the need for (or at least the weight of) a lead apron. The advance could dramatically decrease medical radiation exposure, while also boosting resolution in

Wanyi Nie is a research scientist fellow in the Center of Integrated Nanotechnology at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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