Thanks to some science and a lot of cartoons, people know that to look inside of something, they want to use X-rays. These high energy photons are able to pass through most matter and are transmitted, absorbed, or scattered when they actually run into something. Researchers at the University of Manchester have recently found a new way to apply X-rays that allows for the 3D mapping of an object's internal structure, in real time.
X-rays offer a non-invasive way to analyze a material's internal structure. Typically this is done by shining X-ray beams at the objet, and recording the transmitted beams. Thanks to some advanced computer algorithms, we are able to create a density contrast image. What the Manchester researchers have done is created a system that records and analyzes the scattered X-rays, which carry information about the internal structure and chemistry of the object.
As this technique allows researchers to determine what specific atoms are doing without taking an object apart, it should have a great deal of potential. One day we may see it used to study stress-strain gradients, identification of minerals and other substances, as well as distinguishing between healthy and diseased tissue.
Source: University of Manchester