X-ray technology has the incredible ability to penetrate almost any material and tissue, allowing the production of 2D or 3D images of human beings or objects. Both techniques are well-established and widespread, for instance in hospitals or airports, and are based on a mature but proven technology, of X-ray tubes. Unfortunately, this technology faces physical limitations that have until now restricted high-resolution X-ray imaging to large synchrotron facilities. Hence the interest in ultrafast laser technology.
It has been rapidly identified in laboratories that ultrafast lasers have the ability to overcome those limitations thanks to a new physical process. A high intensity beam focused on a solid target produces a hot plasma in a very confined space. The electrons present in the plasma are then converted into X-rays when they hit the target, like in conventional tubes, but with a much higher intensity when the correct laser parameters are selected.
This laser-based technique allows, among other things:
> Achievement of significantly greater brightness sources than X-ray tubes,
> Much higher spatial resolution together with a reduced deposited dose,
> Greater access for all to trustworthy results from synchrotron sources.
We are convinced that this new X-ray source will revolutionize the world of medical imaging, by giving access to high resolution images in hospitals in the coming years.