Applying CERN’s detector technology to health: MARS Biomedical 3D spectroscopic x-ray imaging
New Zealand has benefited considerably from our links with the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN). We have been an associate member of CERN for 8 years, with projects in high energy physics theory, in the high energy physics Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, and in technology development. In 2006 we joined the Medipix-3 Collaboration. We have installed Medipix detectors in the CMS Cavern for monitoring neutrons and ionising radiation. Our major effort has been to build Medipix detectors into a 3D x-ray scanner of our design. The scanner is dubbed Desktop MARS (Medipix All Resolution system) and provides energy selective images of small biological and pathology specimens. This paper reviews several matters. We look at the support given by the NZ government who have seen benefits in our involvement, including skill development, economic and commercial opportunities, and in overcoming the isolation of distance. We review NZ’s particular role in CMS where particle physics is a driver of new technology; We explore the opportunities arising from Medipix as the first photon processing detector. We first summarise the design of the Medipix detector and discuss likely benefits of spectroscopic imaging in clinical radiology. CERN and the Medpiox-3 Collaboration have licensed us to commercialise the technology for biomedical imaging of small animals and humans using the Medipix detector as the key tool for obtaining 3D computed tomography spectroscopic x-ray CT images. Finally we present some images of biological specimens taken with the MARS scanner, including initial spectroscopic images of mice.