Micro Photonics Inc.

June 2012 - Phase Contrast X-ray Image of a Bee

Phase Contrast X-ray Image of a Bee

Spring and summer are seasons of warming weather, flowers blooming, kids running lemonade stands and bees buzzing around us.  The Bees are collecting nectar and pollenating plants which help to grow the fruits we eat at our picnics.  It is this important role in our ecosystem that make bees fascinating creatures to study.  Many kids will learn about them in science class, write reports about them, and simply enjoy their sound and color.  One way that scientists study bees is to use X-rays to study their structure and shape. 

Since bees are fairly small animals, X-rays tend to pass quickly through them.  And without large bones similar to a human it is difficult to take a clear X-ray image of a bee.  This is true with imaging many small animals.  Now with very high resolution X-ray detectors, and focused X-ray generators acquiring images of bees and small animals can be conduced. One technique is called Phase Contrast.  

The contrast in X-ray images is normally generated by the difference in X-ray absorption for different materials. The X-ray absorption coefficient is roughly proportional to the fourth power of the atomic number.  So for low atomic number elements such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen we use a subtle variation (phase shift) that results in contrast changes around the edges of an object as ligt and dark fringes.  A highly defined X-ray source combined with a very high resolution detector are used to produce a phase contrast image.

To Learn more about Phase Contrast Images and High Resolution Cameras - Click Here!

  • System
    Photonic Science XDI-VHR2 High Resolution X-ray Camera
  • Camera size
    22 Megapixel (Optional 32 Megapixel available) 
  • Software
    Photonic Science Python Acquisition Software 
  • Ability 
    5 fps in binning 4x4; 1.8 fps at full resolution
  • Connection
    Camera Link or GigE interface 
  • User
    Daniel Brau