An old familiar imaging modality is getting a facelift, as a new X-ray device is getting a boost from advanced nanotube technology.

Carestream Health is releasing its DRX-Revolution Nano Mobile X-ray System in the United States, and the company says it will be issuing budgetary quotes for healthcare providers in European Union countries as the company completes the CE marking requirements.

This portable X-ray system uses carbon nanotube (CNT) technology to enable the unit to bring the technology to patients’ bedsides, because of its significantly reduced size and weight, when compared with the size of existing mobile X-ray systems.

CNT structures have several electronic, magnetic and mechanical properties—for example, researchers say they are at least 100 times stronger than steel, but only one-sixth as heavy. In addition, nanotubes can conduct heat and electricity far better than copper.

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Carbon nanotubes are most frequently used in structural reinforcement in materials like rebar to concrete. In addition, CNT are also highly electrically conductive, which enables their use for an extremely cost-effective replacement for metal wires.

In the Carestream unit, CNT technology is used in the tube that emits the X-rays. The design differs significantly from traditional thermionic tubes used in X-ray devices. The CNT emitter used in the Carestream tube consists of a large number of carbon nanotubes arranged vertically on a conductive substrate, replacing the traditional filament, reducing size and power requirements.

“The DRX-Revolution Nano Mobile X-ray system’s compact footprint allows for easier positioning in cramped critical care areas such as the ICU and NICU,” said Charlie Hicks, Carestream’s general manager for global X-ray solutions. The unit weighs about 220 pounds.

The new DRX-Revolution Nano system includes a fully integrated digital workflow; carbon nanotube technology and an advanced lithium iron phosphate battery that contributes to longer life for the unit.

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