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Title:
RADIATION SENSING THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITE PANELS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/105535
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A storage phosphor panel can include an extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer including a thermoplastic polymer and an inorganic storage phosphor material, where the extruded inorganic storage phosphor panel has an image quality comparable to that of a traditional solvent coated inorganic storage phosphor screen. Further disclosed are certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments that can provide inorganic storage phosphor panels including a selected blue dye that can improve resolution. Certain exemplary storage phosphor panels include inorganic storage phosphor material with specific extrudable blue dye (copper phthalocyanine) for resolution greater than 16 line pairs per mm. Certain exemplary storage phosphor panel embodiments include any non-needle storage phosphor panel with resolution greater than or equal to 19 line pairs per mm.

Inventors:
JAGANNATHAN, Seshadri (150 Verona StreetRochester, NY, 14608, US)
RANKIN, Charles, M. (150 Verona StreetRochester, NY, 14608, US)
FOLTS, Lawrence, D. (150 Verona Street150 Verona Stree, Rochester NY, 14608, US)
ULREICH, Barbara (150 Verona StreetRochester, NY, 14608, US)
GUFFEY, Betsy, J. (150 Verona StreetRochec=ster, NH, 14608, US)
INGLESS, Jean-marc (150 Verona StreetRochester, NY, 14608, US)
Application Number:
US2016/025118
Publication Date:
June 22, 2017
Filing Date:
March 31, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CARESTREAM HEALTH, INC. (150 Verona StreetRochester, NY, 14608, US)
International Classes:
G21K4/00; A61B6/00; C09B47/04; G01T1/00; G01T1/203; G03C5/17
Foreign References:
US20060202134A12006-09-14
US20130001423A12013-01-03
US20020070351A12002-06-13
Other References:
None
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. An inorganic storage phosphor panel comprising:

an inorganic storage phosphor layer comprising at least one thermoplastic material, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a selected blue dye to improve resolution, where the selected blue dye is a copper phthalocyanine based blue dye.

2. The storage phosphor panel of claim 1, where the copper phthalocyanine based blue dye is between 1 x 10 2 and 2 x 102 parts per million (ppm), where the inorganic storage phosphor panel has a image resolution greater than 18 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm).

3. The storage phosphor panel of claim 1, where the inorganic storage phosphor panel has a image resolution greater than 16 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm).

4. The storage phosphor panel of claim 2, where the inorganic storage phosphor panel has a image resolution greater than 17 lp/mm, greater than 18 lp/mm, greater than 19 lp/mm, or greater than 20 lp/mm.

5. The storage phosphor panel of claim 1, where the storage phosphor layer has a resolution of >15 lp/mm, where the blue dye is at least 50% reduced in amount from a conventional solvent coated inorganic storage phosphor screen having similar resolution.

6. The storage phosphor panel of claim 1, where the blue dye is at least 70% reduced in amount from a conventional solvent coated inorganic storage phosphor screen having similar resolution.

7. The storage phosphor panel of claim 1, where the thermoplastic material comprising at least one thermoplastic polyolefin.

8. The storage phosphor panel of claim 1, where the relative screen efficiency reading loss is less than 25% compared to a storage phosphor panel without blue dye.

9. The inorganic storage phosphor panel of claim 1, where the inorganic storage phosphor layer is formed by melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing.

10. A non-needle inorganic storage phosphor panel, comprising:

an inorganic storage phosphor layer comprising an inorganic storage phosphor material and a selected blue dye to improve resolution, where the inorganic storage phosphor panel has an image resolution greater than or equal to 19 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm).

11. The storage phosphor panel of claim 1, where the selected blue dye is cop jppeerr pphhtthhaalocyanine based blue dye is between 1 x 10 2 and 2 x 102 parts per million (ppm).

12. A method of using an inorganic storage phosphor panel comprising:

melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing materials comprising at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a copper phthalocyanine based blue dye between 1 x 10 2 and 2 x 102 ppm to form an extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer;

exposing the extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer to x-rays to form a latent image; and

exposing the latent image in the extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer to excitation light to generate a digital image of the latent image.

13. The method of claim 10, where a latent x-ray image in the storage phosphor screen is read by scanning.

14. The method of claim 10, where a latent image in the storage phosphor screen is read using reflectance scanning in a reflectance mode or transmissive scanning in a transmissive mode.

15. The method of claim 10, where the inorganic storage phosphor panel has a image resolution greater than 16 lp/mm, greater than 17 lp/mm, greater than 18 lp/mm, greater than 19 lp/mm, or greater than 20 lp/mm.

Description:
RADIATION SENSING THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITE PANELS

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates generally to the field of inorganic storage phosphor materials. More specifically, the invention relates to

melt extrudable and/or injection moldable and/or hot-melt pressable

composites of inorganic storage phosphor materials and thermoplastic

and/or thermoset polymers and methods for making and/or using the same. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Near the beginning of the 20 ' century, it was recognized that a medically useful anatomical image could be obtained when a film containing a radiation-sensitive silver halide emulsion is exposed to X-radiation (X-rays) passing through the patient. Subsequently, it was recognized that X-ray exposure could be decreased considerably by placing a radiographic phosphor panel adjacent to the film.

A radiographic phosphor panel typically contains a layer of an inorganic phosphor that can absorb X-rays and emit light to expose the film. The inorganic phosphor layer is generally a crystalline material that responds to X-rays in an image-wise fashion. Radiographic phosphor panels can be classified, based on the type of phosphors used, as prompt emission panels and image storage panels.

Image storage panels (also commonly referred to as "storage phosphor panels") typically contain a storage ("stimulable") phosphor capable of absorbing X-rays and storing its energy until subsequently stimulated to emit light in an image-wise fashion as a function of the stored X-ray pattern. A well-known use for storage phosphor panels is in computed or digital radiography . In these applications, the panel is first image-wise exposed to X-rays, which are absorbed by the inorganic phosphor particles, to create a latent image. While the phosphor particles may fluoresce to some degree, most of the absorbed X-rays are stored therein. At some interval after initial X-ray exposure, the storage phosphor panel is subjected to longer wave length radiation, such as visible or infrared light (e.g., stimulating light), resulting in the emission of the energy stored in the phosphor particles as stimulated luminescence (e.g., stimulated light) that is detected and converted into sequential electrical signals which are processed in order to render a visible image on recording materials, such as light-sensitive films or digital display devices (e.g., television or computer monitors). For example, a storage phosphor panel can be image-wise exposed to X-rays and subsequently stimulated by a laser having a red light or infrared beam, resulting in green or blue light emission that is detected and converted to electrical signals which are processed to render a visible image on a computer monitor. The stimulating light may also be other sources other than a laser (such as LED lamps), that would permit stimulation of a larger area of the storage phosphor, and the detection may be done using a two dimensional detector, such as a CCD or a CMOS device.

Thereafter, images from storage phosphor panels can be "erased" by exposure to UV radiation, such as from fluorescent lamps.

Thus, storage phosphor panels are typically expected to store as much incident X-rays as possible while emitting stored energy in a negligible amount until after subsequent stimulation; only after being subjected to stimulating light should the stored energy be released. In this way, storage phosphor panels can be repeatedly used to store and transmit radiation images.

However, there exists a need for improved storage phosphor panels. More specifically, there exists a need for melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor panel has an image quality that is comparable to the image quality of the traditional solvent coated screen of equivalent x-ray absorbance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An aspect of this application is to advance the art of medical, dental and non-destructive imaging systems.

Another aspect of this application is to address in whole or in part, at least the foregoing and other deficiencies in the related art.

It is another aspect of this application to provide in whole or in part, at least the advantages described herein. In an aspect, there are provided exemplary melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor panel embodiments including a melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor layer comprising a thermoplastic polymer and an inorganic storage phosphor material, wherein the melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor panel has an image quality that is comparable to or better than the image quality of the traditional solvent coated screen of equivalent x-ray absorbance.

In another aspect, there are also disclosed exemplary inorganic storage phosphor detection system embodiments including a melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor panel comprising a melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor layer comprising a thermoplastic olefin and an inorganic storage phosphor material.

In a further aspect, there are disclosed exemplary method embodiments of making a melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor panel including providing thermoplastic polymer comprising at least one thermoplastic polymer and an inorganic storage phosphor material; and melt extruding or injection molding or hot pressing the

thermoplastic polymer and the inorganic storage phosphor material to form a melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor layer.

In a further aspect, there is disclosed an exemplary inorganic storage phosphor panel that can include an inorganic storage phosphor layer including at least one thermoplastic material, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a selected blue dye to improve resolution, where the selected blue dye is a copper phthalocyanine based blue dye.

In a further aspect, there is disclosed an exemplary non-needle inorganic storage phosphor panel, that can include an inorganic storage phosphor layer comprising an inorganic storage phosphor material and a selected blue dye to improve resolution, where the inorganic storage phosphor panel has an image resolution greater than or equal to 19 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm).

In a further aspect, there is disclosed an exemplary method of using an inorganic storage phosphor panel that can include melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing materials including at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a copper phthalocyanine based blue dye between 1 x 10 2 ppm and 2 x 102 ppm to form an extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer; exposing the extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer to x-rays to form a latent image; and exposing the latent image in the extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer to excitation light to generate a digital image of the latent image.

These objects are given only by way of illustrative example, and such objects may be exemplary of one or more embodiments of the invention. Other desirable objectives and advantages inherently achieved by the disclosed invention may occur or become apparent to those skilled in the art. The invention is defined by the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of the embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The elements of the drawings are not necessarily to scale relative to each other.

FIGS. 1A-1C depict exemplary portions of scintillator panels in accordance with various embodiments of the present disclosure.

DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The following is a description of exemplary embodiments, reference being made to the drawings in which the same reference numerals identify the same elements of structure in each of the several figures.

Exemplary embodiments herein provide storage phosphor panels including an extruded storage phosphor layer with a thermoplastic polymer and a storage phosphor material, and methods of preparing thereof. It should be noted that while the present description and examples are primarily directed to radiographic medical imaging of a human or other subject, embodiments of apparatus and methods of the present application can also be applied to other radiographic imaging applications. This includes applications such as non- destructive testing (NDT), for which radiographic images may be obtained and provided with different processing treatments in order to accentuate different features of the imaged subject.

An important property of the screen is its x-ray absorbance.

Depending on the specific application (orthopedic or mammography or intra- oral dental or extra oral dental or non-destructive testing of metals or...), the energy and the intensity of the radiation that is incident on the storage phosphor screen will be different. However, in order to be value as an x-ray imaging tool, the storage phosphor screen has to have sufficient x-ray absorbance, so as to produce a useful image. In practical terms, this requires that ~ 40-60% of the extruded storage phosphor screen (by volume) be the storage phosphor material (barium fluorobromoiodide or cesium bromide).

Another requirement for the storage phosphor screen is that it be readable from either side of the screen, and in the transmission or the reflection mode, with respect to the direction of incidence of the stimulation radiation used for reading the information in the screen. And it would desirable that the screen can be handled under ambient lighting conditions or room light- Depending on the specific imaging application (medical radiography or dental radiography or non-destructive testing), the physical characteristics required of the storage phosphor panel can be widely different. However, the divergent physical properties may be defined by a few key properties of the storage phosphor screen, such as its bending resistance

(http://www.taberindustries.com/stiffness-tester), tear resistance

(http://jlwinstruments.com/index.php/products/test-soluti ons/tear-resistance- testing/) or folding resistance (https://www.testingmachines.com/product/31-23- mit-folding-endurance-tester) . A summary of various methods to measure these properties is outlined in

(http://ipst.gatech.edu/faculty/popil roman/pdf presentations/Prediction%20of%2 0Fold%20Cracking%20Propensitv%20through%20Phvsical%20Testing .pdf). All this may be achieved using a single layer or a multi layered architecture, that would include additional, coe traded layers on the screen, which may contain particulates and/or chemistry to achieve the required physical properties needed to accommodate the mechanics of the scanner and/or handling by the end user.

Further, it is important that the extruded storage phosphor screen be recyclable: i.e., it is necessary that the composition of the screen is such that they can re-used to make the storage phosphor screen, and/or the storage phosphor part of the screen can be reused to manufacture a new screen.

The stimulation wavelength and the emission wavelength of the storage phosphor panel are generally determined by the specific storage phosphor. The peak stimulation wavelength for the commonly used storage phosphors, the stimulation wavelength is fairly broad, and is in the region of 550-700 nm.

However, the stimulated emission for the europium doped barium

fluorobromoiodide storage phosphor has peak around 390 nm.

FIG. 1 depicts a portion of an exemplary storage phosphor panel 100 in accordance with various embodiments of the present disclosure. As used herein, "storage phosphor panel" is understood to have its ordinary meaning in the art unless otherwise specified, and refers to panels or screens that store the image upon exposure to X-radiation and emit light when stimulated by another

(generally visible) radiation. As such, "panels" and "screens" are used

interchangeably herein. It should be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art that the storage phosphor panel 100 depicted in FIGS. 1A-1C represents a generalized schematic illustration and that other components can be added or existing components can be removed or modified.

Storage phosphor panels disclosed herein can take any convenient form provided they meet all of the usual requirements for use in computed radiography. As shown in FIG. 1A, the storage phosphor panel 100 may include a support 110 and a melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed storage phosphor layer 120 disposed over the support 110. Any flexible or rigid material suitable for use in storage phosphor panels and does not interfere with the recyclability of storage phosphor screen can be used as the support 110, such as glass, plastic films, ceramics, polymeric materials, carbon substrates, and the like. In certain embodiments, the support 110 can be made of ceramic, (e.g., AI 2 O 3 ) or metallic (e.g., Al) or polymeric (e.g., polypropylene) materials. Also as shown in FIG. 1 A, in an aspect, the support 110 can be coextruded with the storage phosphor layer 120. The support may be transparent, translucent, opaque, or colored (e.g., containing a blue or a black dye). Alternatively, if desired, a support can be omitted in the storage phosphor panel.

In another aspect, an anticurl layer may be coextruded on either side of the support, if a support is used, or on side of the storage phosphor screen, to manage the dimensional stability of the storage phosphor screen.

The thickness of the support 110 can vary depending on the materials used so long as it is capable of supporting itself and layers disposed thereupon. Generally, the support can have a thickness ranging from about 50 μιη to about 1,000 μιη, for example from about 80 μιη to about 1000 μιη, such as from about 80 μιη to about 500 μιη. The support 110 can have a smooth or rough surface, depending on the desired application. In an embodiment, the storage phosphor panel does not comprise a support.

The storage phosphor layer 120 can be disposed over the support 110, if a support is included. Alternatively, the storage phosphor layer 120 can be melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed independently as shown in FIG. IB, or melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed together with an opaque layer, and anticurl layer, and combinations thereof, e.g., shown as layer 150, in FIG. 1A and FIG. 1C.

The storage phosphor layer 120 can include a thermoplastic polymer 130 and a storage phosphor material 140. The thermoplastic polymer 130 may be a polyolefin, such as polyethylene, a polypropylene, and combinations thereof, or a polyurethane, a polyester, a polycarbonate, a silicone, a siloxane, a polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a polyvinylidine chloride (PVdC). In an aspect, the polyethylene can be high density poly low density polyethylene (LDPE), medium density polyethylene (MDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), very low density polyethylene (VLDPE), and the like. In a preferred embodiment, the thermoplastic polymer 130 is low density polyethylene (LDPE). The thermoplastic polymer 130 can be present in the storage phosphor layer 120 in an amount ranging from about 1% to about 50% by volume, for example from about 10% to about 30% by volume, relative to the total volume of the storage phosphor layer 120. As used herein, "storage phosphor particles" and "stimulable phosphor particles" are used interchangeably and are understood to have the ordinary meaning as understood by those skilled in the art unless otherwise specified. "Storage phosphor particles" or "stimulable phosphor particles" refer to phosphor crystals capable of absorbing and storing X-rays and emitting

electromagnetic radiation (e.g., light) of a second wavelength when exposed to or stimulated by radiation of still another wavelength. Generally, stimulable phosphor particles are turbid polycrystals having particle diameters of several micrometers to several hundreds of micrometers; however, fine phosphor particles of submicron to nano sizes have also been synthesized and can be useful. Thus, the optimum mean particle size for a given application is a reflection of the balance between imaging speed and desired image sharpness.

Stimulable phosphor particles can be obtained by doping, for example, rare earth ions as an activator into a parent material such as oxides, nitrides, oxynitrides, sulfides, oxysulfides, silicates, halides, and the like, and combinations thereof. As used herein, "rare earth" refers to chemical elements having an atomic number of 39 or 57 through 71 (also known as "lanthanoids"). Stimulable phosphor particles are capable of absorbing a wide range of electromagnetic radiation. In exemplary preferred embodiments, stimulable phosphor particles can absorb radiation having a wavelength of from about 0.01 to about 10 nm (e.g., X-rays) and from about 300 nm to about 1400 nm (e.g., UV, visible, and infrared light). When stimulated with stimulating light having a wavelength in the range of visible and infrared light, stimulable phosphor particles can emit stimulated light at a wavelength of from about 300 nm to about 650 nm.

Suitable exemplary stimulable phosphor particles for use herein include, but are not limited to, compounds having Formula (I):

MFX ; . z I z uM a X a :yA:eQ:tD (I) wherein M is selected from the group consisting of Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, and combinations thereof; X is selected from the group consisting CI, Br, and combinations thereof;

M a is selected from the group consisting of Na, K, Rb, Cs, and combinations thereof;

X a is selected from the group consisting of F, CI, Br, I, and combinations thereof;

A is selected from the group consisting of Eu, Ce, Sm, Th, Bi, and combinations thereof;

Q is selected from the group consisting of BeO, MgO, CaO, SrO, BaO, ZnO, A1 2 0 3 , La 2 0 3 , ln 2 0 3 , Si0 2 , Ti0 2 , Zr0 2 , Ge0 2 , Nb 2 0 5 , Ta 2 0 5 , Th0 2 , and combinations thereof;

D is selected from the group consisting of V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, and combinations thereof;

z is from about 0.0001 to about 1;

u is from about 0 to about 1;

y is from about 0.0001 to about 0.1;

e is from 0 to about 1 ; and

t is from 0 to about 0.01.

The amounts represented by "z", "u", "y", "e", and "t" are molar amounts. The same designations appearing elsewhere in this disclosure have the same meanings unless otherwise specified. In Formula (I), preferably, M is Ba; X is Br; M a is selected from the group consisting of Na, K, and combinations thereof; X a is selected from the group consisting of F, Br, and combinations thereof; A is Eu; Q is selected from the group consisting of Si0 2 , A1 2 0 3 , and combinations thereof; and t is 0.

Other exemplary stimulable phosphor particles for use herein include, but are not limited to, compounds having Formula (II):

(Ba ; . a .,. c Mg a Ca,Sr c )FX;. z ¾rM a X a :yA:eQ:tD (II) wherein X, M a , X a , A, Q, D e, t, z, and y are as defined above for Formula (I); the sum of a, b, and c, is from 0 to about 0.4; and r is from about 10 "6 to about 0.1. In Formula (II), preferably X is Br; M a is selected from the group consisting of Na, K, and combinations thereof; X a is selected from the group consisting of F, Br, and combinations thereof; A is selected from the group consisting of Eu, Ce, Bi, and combinations thereof; Q is selected from the group consisting of Si0 2 , A1 2 0 3 , and combinations thereof; and t is 0.

Further exemplary stimulable phosphor particles for use herein include, but are not limited to, compounds having Formula (III):

M 1+ X Q M 2+ X 2 bM 3+ X " 3:cZ (III) wherein M is selected from the group consisting of Li, na, K, Cs, Rb, and combinations thereof;

M 2+ is selected from the group consisting of Be, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, Zn, Cd, Cu, Pb, Ni, and combinations thereof;

M 3+ is selected from the group consisting of Sc, Y, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Pm, Sm, Eu, Gd, Tb, Dy Ho, Er, Tm Yb, Lum Al, Bi, In, Ga, and combinations thereof;

Z is selected from the group consisting of Ga 1+ , Ge 2+ , Sn 2+ , Sb 3+ , As 3+ , and combinations thereof;

X, X' and X" can be the same or different and each individually represents a halogen atom selected from the group consisting of F, Br, CI, I; and 0 < a < l ; 0 < b < l ; 0 < c < 0.2.

Preferred stimulable phosphor particles represented by Formulas (I) , (II), or (III) include europium activated barium fluorobromides (e.g. , BaFBnEu and BaFBrLEu), cerium activated alkaline earth metal halides, cerium activated oxyhalides, divalent europium activated alkaline earth metal

fluorohalides, (e.g. , Ba(Sr)FBr:Eu 2+ ) divalent europium activated alkaline earth metal halides, rare earth element activated rare earth oxyhalides, bismuth activated alkaline metal halide phosphors, and combinations thereof.

An alternative to the Eu doped BaFBrI type storage phosphor is, Eu doped CsBr storage phosphor. This is generally used in the form a binderless storage phosphor screen, where the needle shaped Eu doped CsBr particles are generated by vapor deposition of the material on a substrate, which is then sealed water impermeable material. Such needle shaped europium doped cesium bromide storage phosphor screen has an emission peak around 450 nm.

The thermoplastic polymer and the inorganic storage phosphor material are melt compounded to form composite thermoplastic particles which are then melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed to form the inorganic storage phosphor layer. For example, the composite thermoplastic particles can be prepared by melt compounding the thermoplastic polymer with the inorganic storage phosphor material using a twin screw compounder. The ratio of thermoplastic polymer to inorganic storage phosphor material (polymer: inorganic storage phosphor) can range from about 1: 100 to about 1:0.01, by weight or volume, preferably from about 1: 1 to about 1:0.1, by weight or volume. The composition may include inorganic, organic and/or polymeric additives to manage image quality and/or the physical properties of the extruded storage phosphor screen. Examples of the additives include, a blue dye (e.g., ultramarine blue, copper phthalocyanine,..) for managing image quality, surfactants (e.g., sodium dodecyl sulfate) for managing the colloidal stability of the storage phosphor particles, polymers (e.g., ethylene vinylacetate) for managing the rheology of the composite. During melt

compounding, the thermoplastic polymer and the inorganic storage phosphor material can be compounded and heated through multiple heating zones. For example, in the case of polyolefins, the temperature of the heating zones can vary from ca. 170 °C - 250 °C, depending on the specific composition of the

polymer/additive blends that are used, and the period of time in each zone depends on the polymer used and the temperature of the heating zone. Generally, the polymer can be heated for a time and temperature sufficient to melt the polymer and incorporate the inorganic storage phosphor material without decomposing the polymer. The period of time in each zone can range from about 1 second to about 1 minute. Upon exiting the melt compounder, the composite thermoplastic material can enter a water bath to cool and harden into continuous strands. The strands can be pelletized and dried at about 40°C. The screw speed and feed rates for each of the thermoplastic polymer 130 and the inorganic storage phosphor material 140 can be adjusted as desired to control the amount of each in the composite thermoplastic material.

Alternatives to melt compounding include the creation of the composite mixture in an appropriate solvent where the polymer is dissolved or dispersed and inorganic storage phosphor particles are dispersed, followed by the evaporation of the solvent and the milling of the polymer/inorganic storage phosphor composite mixture is pelletized using grinders, cryo-grinder, densifiers, agglomerators, or any other suitable device.

The inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic polymer composite material can be melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed to form the inorganic storage phosphor layer in which the inorganic storage phosphor material is intercalated ("loaded") within the thermoplastic polymer. For example, the inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic polymer composite layer can be formed by melt extruding or injection molding or hot pressing the composite thermoplastic material. Without being limited by theory, it is believed that forming the inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic composite layer by melt extrusion or injection molding or hot pressing increases the homogeneity of the inorganic storage phosphor layer, and eliminates the undesirable "evaporated space" generated when the solvent is evaporated in the traditional solvent-coated panels. A melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic composite panel according to the present disclosure can have comparable image quality, as compared to the traditional solvent coated panels, along with improved mechanical and environmental robustness.

In the case of the inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic polymer composite layer being melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed in combination with a support layer, the melt processing parameters (temperature, screw speed and pump speed in the case of melt extrusion and injection molding, and temperature and pressure in the case of hot pressing) can be adjusted to control the thickness for each of the inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic polymer composite layer and the support layer, individually. The thickness of the inorganic storage phosphor /thermoplastic composite layer can range from about 10 μιη to about 1000 μιη, preferably from about 50 μιη to about 750 μιη, more preferably from about 100 μιη to about 500 μιη.

Optionally, the melt extruded or injection molded or hot pressed inorganic storage phosphor panel can include a protective overcoat disposed over the inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic composite layer, which provides enhanced mechanical strength and scratch and moisture resistance, if desired.

In an embodiment, a scintillation detection system can include the disclosed storage phosphor panel 100 coupled, inserted or mounted to at least one storage phosphor panel reader/scanner 160. Choice of a particular storage phosphor reader will depend, in part, on the type of storage phosphor panel being fabricated and the intended use of the ultimate device used with the disclosed storage phosphor panel. IMAGE QUALITY ASSESSMENT

The image quality assessments were done as described below. The x-ray source was a Carestream Health CS2200 x-ray generator and the images were scanned using a Carestream Health CS7600 intra oral dental scanner, in the super high resolution mode. The screens were subjected to an x-ray exposure of 70kV, 7 niA, 0.16 sec. The pixel values were obtained using a flat field exposure of the storage phosphor screen and the resolution was obtained by imaging a line pair phantom, and visual observation. Image quality assessments obtained herein provide a measureable line pairs per mm resolution consistently or across a set or batch of manufactured panels (e.g., an average resolution). For a constant x-ray exposure, fixed scanner conditions, the pixel value represents the efficiency of the storage phosphor screen in converting the incident x-ray photons to optical photons by photo stimulated luminescence, which is detected by the detector and converted into digital signals (e.g., code values). As a result, the differences in the pixel code value (cv) represent the differences in the efficiency between the storage phosphor screens. COMPARATIVE EXAMPLE 1 (solvent coated screen - no blue dye)

A solvent coated storage phosphor panel was prepared by mixing a BFBLEu phosphor with a solvent package and a binder. The solvent package is prepared by mixing 78 grams of Methylene chloride, 6 grams of Methanol, and 15 grams of 1,3 Dioxolane. The binder is Permuthane (Stahl, Peabody MA), which is diluted to 15% in a solvent package listed above. The other ingredients are added to the weight percentage as specified. The film stabilizer (tetrabutyl ammonium thiosulfate) is a 20% solution that is added to help prevent iodide formation in both the liquid and coated state.

The overcoat layer consists of a mixture of 82% Ethyl Acetate and 18% of a copolyester (Vitel 2700B by Bostik Americas). The phosphor solution was coated onto a PET base support and dried using heated air sections to flash off the solvents, with a resultant phosphor coverage of 41 g/ft . The overcoat solutions were coated on top of the phosphor layer and dried using heated air sections to flash off the solvents, with a resultant overcoat coverage of 0.65 g/ft2. COMPARATIVE EXAMPLE 2 (solvent coated screen - 1200 ppm ultramarine blue dye)

A solvent coated storage phosphor panel was prepared by mixing a BFBLEu phosphor with a solvent package and a binder. The solvent package is prepared by mixing 78 grams of Methylene chloride, 6 grams of Methanol, and 15 grams of 1,3 Dioxolane. The binder is Permuthane (Stahl, Peabody MA), which is diluted to 15% in a solvent package listed above. The other ingredients are added to the weight percentage as specified. The film stabilizer (tetrabutyl ammonium thiosulfate) is a 20% solution that is added to help prevent iodide formation in both the liquid and coated state. The blue dye (AquaMarine blue from Nubiola) is added at a level equivalent to 1200 ppm based on phosphor weight.

The overcoat layer consists of a mixture of Ethyl acetate, Acetone, Methyl methacrylate polymer (Elvacite 2051), 1-Propene, 1, 1,2,3, 3,3-hexafluoro- polymer with 1,1-difluoroethene (Superflex 2500-20), N,N- Ethylenebis(stearamide) (Superslip 6350), and polymethyl methacrylate matte beads. The ratio of components for the solution is listed below:

The phosphor solution was coated onto a PET base support and dried using heated air sections to flash off the solvents, with a resultant phosphor coverage 41 g/ft . The overcoat solutions were coated on top of the phosphor layer and dried using heated air sections to flash off the solvents, with a resultant overcoat coverage of nominally 0.65 g/ft2.

COMPARATIVE EXAMPLE 3 (extruded screen - no blue dye)

COMPOSITE THERMOPLASTIC PARTICLE PRODUCTION

Inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic composite pellets according to the present disclosure were prepared comprising 80% wt. barium flurobromoiodide (BFBrI) and 20% wt low density polyethylene (LDPE

EM811A, available from Westlake Longview Corp. of Houston, TX). The die temperature was set to 220°C and 10 heating zones within the compounder were set to the temperatures shown in Table 1 below:

TABLE 1

After exiting the die, the inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic composite pellets, comprising LDPE loaded with BFBrI, entered a 25°C water bath to cool and hardened into continuous strands. The strands were then fed into a pelletizer and dried at 40 °C.

EXTRUSION OR HOT PRESSING OF INORGANIC STORAGE PHOSPHOR LAYER

The pelletized composite thermoplastic materials were loaded into a single screw Davis Standard extruder. Within the extruder, heating zones were set to the temperatures shown in Table 2 TABLE 2

The pelletized material (composite thermoplastic) was extruded through a single die with the die temperature set at 430°F form an extruded inorganic storage phosphor panel in the thickness range of 100-200 microns.

In some cases, the pellets were heat pressed into a flat sheet by placing compounded pellets between 2 plates and applying pressure up to 15,000 psig. using a Carver Hydraulic Press Model C. The plates were heated to approximately 220°C. The plates were pressed together for a timeframe between 30 and 60 seconds.

COMPARATIVE EXAMPLE 4 (extruded screen - 1000 ppm ultramarine blue dye)

COMPOSITE THERMOPLASTIC PARTICLE PRODUCTION

A sample was prepared as described in comparative example 3, with the difference that the formulation included a blue dye (ultramarine blue) at a level of 1000 ppm with respect to the weight of the phosphor.

A 0.5% concentration of 65561-A Ultramarine blue in LDPE EM 811AA was used to create 1000 ppm blue dye concentration in the final inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic polymer composite. In order to achieve this, the undyed EM811A polymer resin and the dyed (0.5% blue) EM811A masterbatch were blended and compounded with the the BFBrI powder using a Leistritz twin screw compounder. The die temperature was set to 220°C and 10 heating zones within the compounder were set to the temperatures shown in Table 3 below: TABLE 3

After exiting the die, the composite thermoplastic particles, comprising of 1000 ppm blue dyed LDPE loaded with BFBrI, entered a 25°C water bath to cool and hardened into continuous strands. The strands were then pelletized in a pelletizer and dried at 40°C.

EXTRUSION OR HOT PRESSING OF INORGANIC STORAGE PHOSPHOR

LAYER

The pelletized composite thermoplastic materials were loaded into a single screw Davis Standard extruder. Within the extruder, heating zones were set to the temperatures shown in Table 4

TABLE 4

The pelletized material (composite thermoplastic) was extruded through a single die with the die temperature set at 430°F to form an extruded inorganic storage phosphor panel in the thickness range of 100-200 microns.

In some cases, the pellets were heat pressed into a flat sheet by placing compounded pellets between 2 plates and applying pressure up to 15,000 psig, using a Carver Hydraulic Press Model C. The plates were each heated to approximately 220°C. The plates were pressed together for a timeframe between 30 and 60 seconds.

INVENTIVE EXAMPLE 1 (hot pressed screen - 100 ppm copper

phthalocyanine blue dye)

COMPOSITE THERMOPLASTIC PARTICLE PRODUCTION

A sample was prepared as described in comparative example 3, with the difference that the formulation included a blue dye (copper

phthalocyanine) at a level of 100 ppm with respect to the weight of the phosphor.

The inventors understand that hundreds of potential blue dye materials exist that can be used with stimulable storage phosphor panels.

However, the inventors have determined that only specific selected blue dyes improve resolution with exemplary inventive method and/or apparatus embodiments according to the application. For example, the inventors determined copper phthalocyanine based blue dye improves resolution for inventive method and/or apparatus embodiments described herein.

A 10% concentration of 65530-A Trans Blue (copper

phthalocyanine) in LDPE EM 811AA was diluted step wise to a concentration of 1 % with the LDPE EM811 A, available from Westlake Longview Corp. of Houston, TX. To achieve the 100 ppm blue dye concentration in the final inorganic storage phosphor/thermoplastic polymer composite, the undyed EM811A polymer resin and the dyed (1% blue) EM811A masterbatch were blended and compounded with the the BFBrI powder using a Leistritz twin screw compounder. The die temperature was set to 220°C and 10 heating zones within the compounder were set to the temperatures shown in Table 5 below:

TABLE 5 After exiting the die, the composite thermoplastic particles, comprising of 100 ppm blue dyed LDPE loaded with BFBrI, entered a 25°C water bath to cool and hardened into continuous strands. The strands were then pelletized in a pelletizer and dried at 40°C.

EXTRUSION OR HOT PRESSING OF INORGANIC STORAGE PHOSPHOR LAYER

The pelletized composite thermoplastic materials were loaded into a single screw Davis Standard extruder. Within the extruder, heating zones were set to the temperatures shown in Table 6.

TABLE 6

The pelletized material (composite thermoplastic) was extruded through a single die with the die temperature set at 430°F form an extruded inorganic storage phosphor panel in the thickness range of 100-200 microns.

In some cases, the pellets were heat pressed into a flat sheet by placing compounded pellets between 2 plates and applying pressure up to 15,000 psig, using a Carver Hydraulic Press Model C. The plates were each heated to approximately 220°C. The plates were pressed together for a timeframe between 30 and 60 seconds.

INVENTIVE EXAMPLE 2 (hot pressed screen - 200 ppm copper

phthalocyanine blue dye) COMPOSITE THERMOPLASTIC PARTICLE PRODUCTION

A sample was prepared as described in inventive example 1, with the difference that the formulation included a blue dye (copper phthalocyanine) at a level of 200 ppm with respect to the weight of the phosphor.

EXTRUSION OR HOT PRESSING OF INORGANIC STORAGE PHOSPHOR

LAYER

The pelletized composite thermoplastic materials were loaded into a single screw Davis Standard extruder. Within the extruder, heating zones were set to the temperatures shown in Table 7.

TABLE 7

The pelletized material (composite thermoplastic) was extruded through a single die with the die temperature set at 430°F form an extruded inorganic storage phosphor panel in the thickness range of 100-200 microns.

In some cases, the pellets were heat pressed into a flat sheet by placing compounded pellets between 2 plates and applying pressure up to 15,000 psig, using a Carver Hydraulic Press Model C. The plates were each heated to approximately 220°C. The plates were pressed together for a timeframe between 30 and 60 seconds.

The inventors have determined that in exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments according to the application disclosed herein that using a copper phthalocyanine based blue dye at levels above 200 parts per million did not improve resolution and began to negatively impact resolution by reducing signal levels (e.g., reducing emission throughput). The comparative and inventive examples were characterized as described above.

Exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide inorganic storage phosphor panels including an inorganic storage phosphor layer including at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a blue dye, where the storage phosphor layer has a resolution of >15 lp/mm, where the blue dye is at least 50% reduced in amount from a conventional solvent coated inorganic storage phosphor screen having similar resolution. In certain exemplary embodiments, the inorganic storage phosphor panel has an image resolution greater than 16 lp/mm. greater than 17 lp/mm. greater than 18 lp/mm, greater than 19 lp/mm, or greater than 20 lp/mm. In certain exemplary embodiments, the blue dye is at least 60% reduced in amount, at least 70% reduced in amount, at least 80% reduced in amount, or at least 90% reduced in amount from a conventional solvent coated inorganic storage phosphor screen having similar resolution.

Exemplary method embodiments using an inorganic storage phosphor panel can include melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing materials comprising at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a blue dye to form an extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer, where the storage phosphor layer has a resolution of >15 lp/mm, where the blue dye is at least 50% reduced in amount from a conventional solvent coated inorganic storage phosphor screen having similar resolution; exposing the extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer to x-rays to form a latent image; and exposing the latent image in the extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer to excitation light to generate a digital image of the latent image.

Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide inorganic storage phosphor panels including an inorganic storage phosphor layer including at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a blue dye, where the storage phosphor layer has a resolution of >19 lp/mm, resolution of >20 lp/mm, or resolution of >21 lp/mm.

In selected exemplary embodiments, the inorganic storage phosphor panels are formed by melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing.

Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide inorganic storage phosphor panels where the relative screen efficiency loss is less than 15%, less than 25%, less than 40% compared to a storage phosphor panel without blue dye.

Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide a thermoplastic polyolefin storage phosphor screen which has a resolution of >15 lp/mm, a resolution of >16 lp/mm, a resolution of >17 lp/mm, a resolution of >18 lp/mm, a resolution of >19 lp/mm, a resolution of >20 lp/mm. Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide a thermoplastic storage phosphor screen which has a resolution of >15 lp/mm, a resolution of >16 lp/mm, a resolution of >17 lp/mm, a resolution of >18 lp/mm, a resolution of >19 lp/mm, a resolution of >20 lp/mm.

Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide a storage phosphor screen which has a resolution of >15 lp/mm, a resolution of >16 lp/mm, a resolution of > 17 lp/mm, a resolution of >18 lp/mm, a resolution of >19 lp/mm, a resolution of >20 lp/mm.

In selected exemplary embodiments, the inorganic storage phosphor screen is formed by melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing.

Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide an inorganic storage phosphor panel including an inorganic storage phosphor layer including at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a copper phthalocyanine based blue dye, wherein the inorganic storage phosphor panel has a image resolution greater than 15 lp/mm, greater than 16 lp/mm. greater than 17 lp/mm. greater than 18 lp/mm, greater than 19 lp/mm, or greater than 20 lp/mm. In selected exemplary embodiments, the inorganic storage phosphor layer is formed by melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing.

Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide an inorganic storage phosphor panel including an inorganic storage phosphor layer including at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a blue dye between 1 x 10 2 and 3 x 102 ppm, wherein the inorganic storage phosphor panel has a image resolution greater than 18 lp/mm. Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments can provide an inorganic storage phosphor panel including an inorganic storage phosphor layer including at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a copper phthalocyanine based blue dye , wherein the inorganic storage phosphor panel has a image resolution greater than 15 lp/mm, greater than 16 lp/mm. greater than 17 lp/mm. greater than 18 lp/mm, greater than 19 lp/mm, or greater than 20 lp/mm. In selected exemplary embodiments, the inorganic storage phosphor panel is formed by melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing.

Certain exemplary method embodiments can using an inorganic storage phosphor panel including melt extruding, injection molding or hot pressing materials comprising at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, an inorganic storage phosphor material and a copper phthalocyanine based blue dye between 1 x 10 2 and 3 x 102 ppm to form an extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer; exposing the extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer to x-rays to form a latent image; and exposing the latent image in the extruded inorganic storage phosphor layer to excitation light to generate a digital image of the latent image.

In one exemplary embodiment, a latent x-ray image in the storage phosphor screen is read by scanning. In one exemplary embodiment, a latent image in the storage phosphor screen is read using reflectance scanning in a reflectance mode or transmissive scanning in a transmissive mode.

In this document, the terms "a" or "an" are used, as is common in patent documents, to include one or more than one, independent of any other instances or usages of "at least one" or "one or more." In this document, the term "or" is used to refer to a nonexclusive or, such that "A or B" includes "A but not B," "B but not A," and "A and B," unless otherwise indicated. In this document, the terms "including" and "in which" are used as the plain-English equivalents of the respective terms "comprising" and "wherein." Also, in the following claims, the terms "including" and "comprising" are open-ended, that is, a system, device, article, or process that includes elements in addition to those listed after such a term in a claim are still deemed to fall within the scope of that claim.

Certain exemplary method and/or apparatus embodiments according to the application can provide virtual definition of the base of a dental virtual model. Exemplary embodiments according to the application can include various features described herein (individually or in combination).

While the invention has been illustrated with respect to one or more implementations, alterations and/or modifications can be made to the illustrated examples without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims. In addition, while a particular feature of the invention can have been disclosed with respect to only one of several implementations/embodiments, such feature can be combined with one or more other features of the other

implementations/embodiments as can be desired and advantageous for any given or particular function. The term "at least one of is used to mean one or more of the listed items can be selected. The term "about" indicates that the value listed can be somewhat altered, as long as the alteration does not result in

nonconformance of the process or structure to the illustrated embodiment.

Finally, "exemplary" indicates the description is used as an example, rather than implying that it is an ideal. Other embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the invention disclosed herein. It is intended that the specification and examples be considered as exemplary only, with a true scope and spirit of the invention being indicated by at least the following claims.