Our lab consists of post-doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate students working in a support capacity, along with experienced permanent lab staff – including senior research scientists, computer, electrical and mechanical engineers – who provide the core scientific and engineering skills required to conduct the research. Graduate students in the group typically become involved in many aspects of our research with the objective of assuming primary responsibility for a project. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to obtain information about admission to the University from the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. A list of our papers, abstracts and presentations appears under the publication links below.
Our research interests include the design, development, characterization and implementation of x-ray imaging technologies based on thin-film electronics for projection and tomographic imaging procedures in applications including radiotherapy, radiography, fluoroscopy and mammography, as well as cardiac and interventional imaging.
Facilities: Our research is primarily conducted in a pleasant, off-campus environment where the state-of-the-art facilities include multiple measurement and engineering labs equipped with dedicated x-ray sources and sophisticated hardware and software tools.
Disciplinary Reach of Research: The research involves electrical and mechanical engineering as well as radiation, imaging and device physics. The research also encompasses experimental design, computer simulation, and empirical prototype evaluation.
Resource Sharing: In compliance with NIH policy on resource sharing, Final Research Data can be obtained for those publications supported by NIH funding, and for which such Data exist, by contacting the principal investigator, Dr. Larry Antonuk.
Our research concentrates on development of the two major components of a flat-panel x-ray imager: the large-area, monolithic, solid-state backplane which takes the form of a two-dimensional matrix of imaging pixels whose thin-film circuitry is a focus of the research; and the converter positioned over the backplane where incident x-rays interact and which consists of either a scintillator or a photoconductor.
- The following monolithic, large-area solid-state x-ray imager technologies under development in our lab offer prospects for significant improvements in performance, or new capabilities, compared to existing projection and volumetric x-ray technologies.
Technology 1: Thick, segmented scintillator converters – for external-beam, radiotherapy imaging and non-destructive testing.
Technology 4: Photon-counting imaging backplanes (consisting of arrays that comprise highly-complex pixel circuits based on poly-crystalline silicon) which measure the spectral information of each interacting x-ray photon – for Cone Beam Computed Tomography in radiotherapy (kV-CBCT) and Breast Computed Tomography (BCT).
- The research methodology is based on iterative design, fabrication and performance evaluation of experimental imager configurations. These configurations comprise prototype arrays or converters (typically fabricated by industrial partners) that are packaged into the mechanical and electronic sub-systems (created by our group) that are required to fully test them. This methodology has been found to be a cost-effective means of developing advanced imager designs.
- Computer simulations of radiation transport and optical transport in x-ray converters, as well as the signal and noise properties of advanced backplane circuits, are an essential element of our research. Such simulations are computationally expensive and, for that reason, are carried out using a custom-designed, in-house computer cluster – one of the numerous state-of-the-art tools utilized in the lab.