Scientists from Applied Nanotechnologies, Inc. and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say they have developed a new means of producing X-rays.

The technology uses carbon nanotubes that allows an X-ray machine to work at room temperature rather than the 1,500 degress Celsius convetional machines currently require and generate, according to a statement released by the company.

“If this works as well as we think it will, we can make such machines a lot smaller and cooler and be able to turn them on and off much faster,” says Dr. Otto Z. Zhou, associate professor of physics and materials sciences at UNC. “Other advantages are that they should be cheaper, be safer in terms of the lower heat generated, last longer, use less electricity and produce higher resolution images. We believe we have made a major breakthrough in X-ray technology, and we are extremely excited about it.”

A report on the team’s experiements is scheduled to be published in the July 8 issue of science and technology journal Applied Physics Letters. Financial support from the experiments came from the Office of Naval Research and private sources. Details of the funding have not been disclosed. Company officials were not immediately available for comment.

Applied Nanotechnologies: