Imaging soft tissue in detail has required enormous particle accelerators that span several city blocks. A new method may soon bring this valuable diagnostic capability into hospital settings. There, researchers say, it will provide physicians with unprecedented power to spot tumors, clogged arteries, and other soft-tissue problems.
Researchers have long known that phase-contrast X-ray imaging can yield stunning pictures of soft tissue. Currently, however, the technique requires X rays from a synchrotron, a particle accelerator measuring 300 meters or more in diameter.