Researchers developed a flexible, wearable X-ray detector that doesn’t require toxic heavy metals.
X-ray imaging is a very critical technique in the biomedical field. It is a very effective way to look inside the human body. But X-ray detectors which images the body parts contain harmful heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium. Moreover, most X-ray detectors are integrated into big, immobile instruments, such as computerized tomography. Researchers have earlier tried to use nontoxic metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for flexible radiation detectors, but they consisted of lead, just like X-ray detectors that are currently in use.
Researchers have now reported proof-of-concept wearable X-ray detectors implemented from nontoxic metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) layered between flexible plastic and gold electrodes for high-sensitivity sensing and imaging. Their work appeared in the ACS Nano Letters journal.
The researchers tested their MOF-based X-ray detector was more sensitive than recently reported detectors when irradiated with 20 keV X-rays, equivalent to the energy released during medical diagnostic imaging. To make the device flexible, the team sandwiched the nickel-containing MOF between gold film electrodes, one of which was on a flexible plastic surface. They used copper wires to transmit current from each pixel of a 12×12 array and covered the whole device with a silicone-based flexible polymer.
Researchers believe that their proof-of-concept will pave the road for the next generation of radiology imaging equipment and radiation detection when wearable or flexible devices are needed.