3D-printed coded apertures for x-ray backscatter radiography
Muñoz AAM., Vella A., Healy MJF., Lane DW., Jupp I., Lockley D.
© COPYRIGHT SPIE. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only. Many different mask patterns can be used for X-ray backscatter imaging using coded apertures, which can find application in the medical, industrial and security sectors. While some of these patterns may be considered to have a self-supporting structure, this is not the case for some of the most frequently used patterns such as uniformly redundant arrays or any pattern with a high open fraction. This makes mask construction difficult and usually requires a compromise in its design by drilling holes or adopting a no two holes touching version of the original pattern. In this study, this compromise was avoided by 3D printing a support structure that was then filled with a radiopaque material to create the completed mask. The coded masks were manufactured using two different methods, hot cast and cold cast. Hot casting involved casting a bismuth alloy at 80°C into the 3D printed acrylonitrile butadiene styrene mould which produced an absorber with density of 8.6 g cm-3. Cold casting was undertaken at room temperature, when a tungsten/epoxy composite was cast into a 3D printed polylactic acid mould. The cold cast procedure offered a greater density of around 9.6 to 10 g cm-3 and consequently greater X-ray attenuation. It was also found to be much easier to manufacture and more cost effective. A critical review of the manufacturing procedure is presented along with some typical images. In both cases the 3D printing process allowed square apertures to be created avoiding their approximation by circular holes when conventional drilling is used.