I've enjoyed traveling in Eastern Europe before, so volunteered to organise a CT software workshop at National Center for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) in Poland. Nuclear research facilities don't have the convenience of being located downtown Warsaw, so I had the pleasure to visit the nearby town of Otwock and the NCBJ labs in Świerk, while seeing the peacefulness of Polish suburbs and countryside in the process. It was an adventure by itself to reach Otwock and felt most grateful for being escorted from the local hotel to the labs, not getting lost or diverted by the kind security personnel at the facility perimeter.
The application interests in the collaboration between Eigenor and NCBJ lie at CT imaging of large industrial objects. This requires considerably different approach than medical applications, where imaging speed and low radiation dose are essential. Large and dense objects tend to exhibit extreme attenuation, so either the X-ray source has to be powerful or the exposure needs to be long. There are also multitude of other issues, ranging from positioning the objects accurately to beam hardening effects in the measurements. It would save time and effort to make CT reconstructions from only few X-ray projections.
It has been educational to start experimenting with smaller objects, such as the thyratron tube (above image), and continue ramping up the size of the objects and equipment. Face-to-face meetings make it easier and more efficient to understand the full spectrum of challenges in the development, and how to make the CT software flexible enough to overcome those challenges.
Fortunately, both the Eigenor development team and the researchers at Świerk have plenty of ideas for large CT reconstructions in practice. Innovativeness is required in both imaging hardware and software, and the end result ought to offer unprecedented capabilities in inspecting large machinery.
Dr. Janne Toivola