24 October 2016 The first large area, high X-ray energy phase contrast prototype for enhanced detection of threat object in baggage screening
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Abstract
X-ray imaging is the most commonly used method in baggage screening. Conventional x-ray attenuation (usually in dual-energy mode) is exploited to discriminate threat and non-threat materials: this is essentially, a method that has seen little changes in decades. Our goal is to demonstrate that x-rays can be used in a different way to achieve improved detection of weapons and explosives. Our approach involves the use of x-ray phase contrast and it a) allows much higher sensitivity in the detection of object edges and b) can be made sensitive to the sample’s microstructure. We believe that these additional channels of information, alongside conventional attenuation which would still be available, have the potential to significantly increase both sensitivity and specificity in baggage scanning.

We obtained preliminary data demonstrating the above enhanced detection, and we built a scanner (currently in commissioning) to scale the concept up and test it on real baggage. In particular, while previous X-ray phase contrast imaging systems were limited in terms of both field of view (FOV) and maximum x-ray energy, this scanner overcomes both those limitations and provides FOVs up to 20 to 50 cm2 with x-ray energies up to 100 keV.
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Alberto Astolfo, Alberto Astolfo, Marco Endrizzi, Marco Endrizzi, Benjamin Price, Benjamin Price, Ian Haig, Ian Haig, Alessandro Olivo, Alessandro Olivo, } "The first large area, high X-ray energy phase contrast prototype for enhanced detection of threat object in baggage screening", Proc. SPIE 9995, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence XII, 999505 (24 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2239556; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2239556
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