Binghamton University soon to get first x-ray machine of its kind in U.S.

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VESTAL (WBNG) — A new technology is making its way to the United States and it will soon be at Binghamton University.

After three years worth of work, Materials Science and Engineering Professor Dr. Louis Piper says he cannot wait to get a hold of the new x-ray expected to arrive to the U.S. soon.

The machine is not like the typical x-ray. Instead of examining bones in a hospital or taking a look at teeth at a dentist’s office, this invention looks deep within the electrons of what it is scanning.

“We shine x-rays in and we measure electrons that come out of the material,” said Dr. Piper. “So, because we can measure the energy of those electrons, it gives us information about the electronic structure, the bonding, the chemical composition of the material.”

Regular x-rays look straight through the objects, where as this one looks at the middle of it, instead of on the surface or straight through.

This way, scientists don’t have to break apart the object to observe it and expose it to air. They can actually tell what is inside without disrupting the original form, meaning students can study parts of objects that have yet to be discovered.

“Because we don’t have to damage the surface, we can look at archaeologically important artifacts like pigments from the Roman era or ceramics from Easter Island,” said Piper.

With brand new equipment, comes a hefty cost. Piper says through millions of dollars of support from the National Science Foundation, the entire machine cost $1.76 million.

Piper says while it is a big price tag, he ensures it will be cost effective and worth the money for the advancement of research and education.

“We’ll have opportunities to do more research,” said Piper. “We’ll often be able to push the envelope with certain things we can do.”

Binghamton University will receive the x-ray machine in six to nine months.

Anne Sparaco

Anne Sparaco

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