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Preview: Journal of Synchrotron Radiation

Journal of Synchrotron Radiation

Synchrotron radiation research is rapidly expanding with many new sources of radiation being created globally. Synchrotron radiation plays a leading role in pure science and in emerging technologies. The Journal of Synchrotron Radiation provides comprehen

Published: 2017-05-26


Potential of propagation-based synchrotron X-ray phase-contrast computed tomography for cardiac tissue engineering


Hydrogel-based cardiac tissue engineering offers great promise for myocardial infarction repair. The ability to visualize engineered systems in vivo in animal models is desired to monitor the performance of cardiac constructs. However, due to the low density and weak X-ray attenuation of hydrogels, conventional radiography and micro-computed tomography are unable to visualize the hydrogel cardiac constructs upon their implantation, thus limiting their use in animal systems. This paper presents a study on the optimization of synchrotron X-ray propagation-based phase-contrast imaging computed tomography (PCI-CT) for three-dimensional (3D) visualization and assessment of the hydrogel cardiac patches. First, alginate hydrogel was 3D-printed into cardiac patches, with the pores filled by fibrin. The hydrogel patches were then surgically implanted on rat hearts. A week after surgery, the hearts including patches were excised and embedded in a soft-tissue-mimicking gel for imaging by using PCI-CT at an X-ray energy of 25 keV. During imaging, the sample-to-detector distances, CT-scan time and the region of interest (ROI) were varied and examined for their effects on both imaging quality and radiation dose. The results showed that phase-retrieved PCI-CT images provided edge-enhancement fringes at a sample-to-detector distance of 147 cm that enabled visualization of anatomical and microstructural features of the myocardium and the implanted patch in the tissue-mimicking gel. For visualization of these features, PCI-CT offered a significantly higher performance than the dual absorption-phase and clinical magnetic resonance (3 T) imaging techniques. Furthermore, by reducing the total CT-scan time and ROI, PCI-CT was examined for lowering the effective dose, meanwhile without much loss of imaging quality. In effect, the higher soft tissue contrast and low-dose potential of PCI-CT has been used along with an acceptable overall animal dose to achieve the high spatial resolution needed for cardiac implant visualization. As a result, PCI-CT at the identified imaging parameters offers great potential for 3D assessment of microstructural features of hydrogel cardiac patches.

Alternative difference analysis scheme combining R-space EXAFS fit with global optimization XANES fit for X-ray transient absorption spectroscopy


Time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy (TR-XAS), based on the laser-pump/X-ray-probe method, is powerful in capturing the change of the geometrical and electronic structure of the absorbing atom upon excitation. TR-XAS data analysis is generally performed on the laser-on minus laser-off difference spectrum. Here, a new analysis scheme is presented for the TR-XAS difference fitting in both the extended X-ray absorption fine-structure (EXAFS) and the X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) regions. R-space EXAFS difference fitting could quickly provide the main quantitative structure change of the first shell. The XANES fitting part introduces a global non-derivative optimization algorithm and optimizes the local structure change in a flexible way where both the core XAS calculation package and the search method in the fitting shell are changeable. The scheme was applied to the TR-XAS difference analysis of Fe(phen)3 spin crossover complex and yielded reliable distance change and excitation population.

Preclinical radiotherapy at the Australian Synchrotron's Imaging and Medical Beamline: instrumentation, dosimetry and a small-animal feasibility study


Therapeutic applications of synchrotron X-rays such as microbeam (MRT) and minibeam (MBRT) radiation therapy promise significant advantages over conventional clinical techniques for some diseases if successfully transferred to clinical practice. Preclinical studies show clear evidence that a number of normal tissues in animal models display a tolerance to much higher doses from MRT compared with conventional radiotherapy. However, a wide spread in the parameters studied makes it difficult to make any conclusions about the associated tumour control or normal tissue complication probabilities. To facilitate more systematic and reproducible preclinical synchrotron radiotherapy studies, a dedicated preclinical station including small-animal irradiation stage was designed and installed at the Imaging and Medical Beamline (IMBL) at the Australian Synchrotron. The stage was characterized in terms of the accuracy and reliability of the vertical scanning speed, as this is the key variable in dose delivery. The measured speed was found to be within 1% of the nominal speed for the range of speeds measured by an interferometer. Furthermore, dose measurements confirm the expected relationship between speed and dose and show that the measured dose is independent of the scan direction. Important dosimetric parameters such as peak dose, valley dose, the collimator output factor and peak-to-valley dose ratio are presented for 5 mm × 5 mm, 10 mm × 10 mm and 20 mm × 20 mm field sizes. Finally, a feasibility study on three glioma-bearing rats was performed. MRT and MBRT doses were prescribed to achieve an average dose of 65 Gy in the target, and magnetic resonance imaging follow-up was performed at various time points after irradiation to follow the tumour volume. Although it is impossible to draw conclusions on the different treatments with such a small number of animals, the feasibility of end-to-end preclinical synchrotron radiotherapy studies using the IMBL preclinical stage is demonstrated.

Comparison of phantom materials for use in quality assurance of microbeam radiation therapy


Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) is a promising radiotherapy modality that uses arrays of spatially fractionated micrometre-sized beams of synchrotron radiation to irradiate tumours. Routine dosimetry quality assurance (QA) prior to treatment is necessary to identify any changes in beam condition from the treatment plan, and is undertaken using solid homogeneous phantoms. Solid phantoms are designed for, and routinely used in, megavoltage X-ray beam radiation therapy. These solid phantoms are not necessarily designed to be water-equivalent at low X-ray energies, and therefore may not be suitable for MRT QA. This work quantitatively determines the most appropriate solid phantom to use in dosimetric MRT QA. Simulated dose profiles of various phantom materials were compared with those calculated in water under the same conditions. The phantoms under consideration were RMI457 Solid Water (Gammex-RMI, Middleton, WI, USA), Plastic Water (CIRS, Norfolk, VA, USA), Plastic Water DT (CIRS, Norfolk, VA, USA), PAGAT (CIRS, Norfolk, VA, USA), RW3 Solid Phantom (PTW Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany), PMMA, Virtual Water (Med-Cal, Verona, WI, USA) and Perspex. RMI457 Solid Water and Virtual Water were found to be the best approximations for water in MRT dosimetry (within ±3% deviation in peak and 6% in valley). RW3 and Plastic Water DT approximate the relative dose distribution in water (within ±3% deviation in the peak and 5% in the valley). PAGAT, PMMA, Perspex and Plastic Water are not recommended to be used as phantoms for MRT QA, due to dosimetric discrepancies greater than 5%.

Insight into growth of Au–Pt bimetallic nanoparticles: an in situ XAS study


Au–Pt bimetallic nanoparticles have been synthesized through a one-pot synthesis route from their respective chloride precursors using block copolymer as a stabilizer. Growth of the nanoparticles has been studied by simultaneous in situ measurement of X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and UV–Vis spectroscopy at the energy-dispersive EXAFS beamline (BL-08) at Indus-2 SRS at RRCAT, Indore, India. In situ XAS spectra, comprising both X-ray near-edge structure (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine-structure (EXAFS) parts, have been measured simultaneously at the Au and Pt L3-edges. While the XANES spectra of the precursors provide real-time information on the reduction process, the EXAFS spectra reveal the structure of the clusters formed in the intermediate stages of growth. This insight into the formation process throws light on how the difference in the reduction potential of the two precursors could be used to obtain the core–shell-type configuration of a bimetallic alloy in a one-pot synthesis method. The core–shell-type structure of the nanoparticles has also been confirmed by ex situ energy-dispersive spectroscopy line-scan and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements with in situ ion etching on fully formed nanoparticles.

A method to stabilize the incident X-ray energy for anomalous diffraction measurements


A method to calibrate and stabilize the incident X-ray energy for anomalous diffraction data collection is provided and has been successfully used at the single-crystal diffraction beamline 1W2B at the Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facilities. Employing a feedback loop to control the movement of the double-crystal monochromator, this new method enables the incident X-ray energy to be kept within a 0.2 eV range at the inflection point of the absorption edge.

In situ electrochemical high-energy X-ray diffraction using a capillary working electrode cell geometry


The ability to generate new electrochemically active materials for energy generation and storage with improved properties will likely be derived from an understanding of atomic-scale structure/function relationships during electrochemical events. Here, the design and implementation of a new capillary electrochemical cell designed specifically for in situ high-energy X-ray diffraction measurements is described. By increasing the amount of electrochemically active material in the X-ray path while implementing low-Z cell materials with anisotropic scattering profiles, an order of magnitude enhancement in diffracted X-ray signal over traditional cell geometries for multiple electrochemically active materials is demonstrated. This signal improvement is crucial for high-energy X-ray diffraction measurements and subsequent Fourier transformation into atomic pair distribution functions for atomic-scale structural analysis. As an example, clear structural changes in LiCoO2 under reductive and oxidative conditions using the capillary cell are demonstrated, which agree with prior studies. Accurate modeling of the LiCoO2 diffraction data using reverse Monte Carlo simulations further verifies accurate background subtraction and strong signal from the electrochemically active material, enabled by the capillary working electrode geometry.