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Collaborative Success Stories: The X Factor

x rays

Anyone who’s had an x-ray knows what’s involved: big equipment, lots of shielding and a bit of hassle. New research at the University of Missouri might provide an alternative.

MU researcher Dr. Scott Kovaleski has invented a compact source of X-rays and other forms of radiation. The source uses a crystal to produce more than 100,000 volts of electricity from only 10 volts of electrical input. It is perfectly harmless until energized, and then it produces relatively low levels of radiation.

Kovaleski developed the device with the aid of other engineers and students, including graduate student Brady Gall. Gall researched and tinkered for more than two years before the team made its breakthrough. He used the results in his thesis.

The radiation source, which is the size of a stick of gum, could be used to create inexpensive and portable X-ray scanners for use by doctors, as well as to fight terrorism and aid exploration on this planet and others. Although a prototype hand-held X-ray scanner is about three years in the future, Kovaleski has already been approached by two different groups interested in developing such a device.

Scott Kovaleski is a professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the MU Energetics and Pulsed Power Laboratory at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine