Oswego Researcher to use grant to design versatile X-ray detector
A SUNY Oswego computer science faculty member began work in Nov. 2010 on programming X-ray detectors used in a wide variety of scientific experiments. Marianne Hromalik is working as a partner in a Cornell University grant to develop software that will make detectors that are more versatile and less costly.
Cornell’s Laboratory for Atomic and Solid State Physics has subcontracted Marianne Hromalik to work on programming integrated circuits for devices used to examine the structure of viruses and proteins, to monitor materials fatigue in aircraft parts and to do much more.
To begin to visualize Hromalik’s work, it may be handy for non-scientists to think of X-ray machines used in airports and hospitals. But the kind used in detailed molecular studies are called synchrotron radiation instruments, capable of imaging staggering numbers of X-rays to study substances and objects at nanoscale resolutions, in time intervals measured in billionths of a second.
A sophisticated device called a pixel array detector—a multilayered integrated circuit driven by software—captures and stores the data generated in experiments using synchrotron X-rays. The rays help scientists observe the behavior of substances or objects subjected to cold, light, pressure and other stressors.