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Case Studies

Mars Lander

When NASA needed an innovative X-ray device using XRF analysis for use on planetary landers they came to XOS. Our revolutionary design and optics proved it is feasible to record diffraction patterns using a low power X-ray source and a monolithic polycapillary optic. The next stage of this research will allow us to develop a compact, portable X-ray diffractometer with diverse commercial applications. These devices will improve the utility of robotics operating in remote or hazardous sites.

Medical Imaging

XOS has participated in several projects with The National Institute of Health to examine the use of polycapillary optics in the field of medical imaging. By using these optics in place of conventional scatter grids, XOS has demonstrated the ability to reduce scatter and increase the transmission of primary photons, leading to higher contrast and reduced patient dose. The next stage of research is the development of an optic assembly for use in laboratory tests and clinical trials. Polycapillary optics will allow cheaper, more accurate medical imaging results in a fraction of the time, while operating at lower power levels.

Protein Crystallography

When NASA grows protein crystals in space, the resulting crystals deteriorate very quickly upon their return to earth. Traditional techniques require 3-4 days to characterize the sample. XOS helped develop a radically improved laboratory-based protein crystallography capability that reduces that time of analysis to 3-4 hours. The development of this capability has enormous implications in biotechnology and pharmaceutical laboratories and will allow them to obtain better results at a lower cost.

Geological MXRF

In alliance with the National Science Foundation, XOS has developed a high performance microfocus X-ray fluorescence (MXRF) system to map small grain compositions in soil samples. The device is designed around a new type of polycapillary focusing optic, which greatly improves measurement sensitivity and improves spatial resolution down to an incredible 20 microns and reduces measurement time by two orders of magnitude. Commercial applications of this technology include the analysis of thin films and electronic contacts in the semiconductor industry, better detection of heavy metals in soil or effluents, and improved determination of thickness and composition for industrial multilayer coatings.