Polaroid® instant film was the primary imaging medium used with Golden Engineering X-ray units from the 1970s through the 1990s. The 1990s brought the introduction of Digital Imaging Systems with substantial technological advancements made in the last decade. Digital Imaging Systems provide many advantages over the Polaroid® film system including numerous image enhancement features, wider dynamic range, minimal cost per image, and better performance in extreme temperatures. The two basic types of digital imaging systems are Computed Radiography (CR) and Direct Radiography (DR).
CR systems are most like the Polaroid Film System replacing the film with an imaging plate that contains photostimulable storage phosphors. After exposing the imaging plate to X-rays the imaging plate is run through a special laser scanner, or CR reader, that reads and digitizes the image. The image processing time ranges from seconds to just under a minute depending on the system. After the image is processed, the imaging plate is erased by exposing it to light. The imaging plates can be rescanned about two thousand times.
DR systems use a digital image capture device to record the image rather than X-ray film. The capture device can be Flat Panel Detector (FPDs) or combination Florescent Screen and CCD Camera. A cable or wireless option connects the image capture device to a notebook computer where the image is viewed. Image processing time is only a few seconds. The operator controls the X-ray pulse setting and fires the X-ray from the computer. It is not necessary to retrieve the image capture device prior to processing the image, which can be advantageous in some applications.
Direct Radiography (DR) Companies
Computed Radiography (CR) Companies