X-ray dark-field radiography shows promise in detecting diseases such as pulmonary emphysema at an earlier stage than current technology, according to research published in Investigative Radiology.

Conventional radiographic procedures generate images based on the absorption of X-rays as they pass through the tissue. The newly developed technique of X-ray dark-field radiography uses new technology to monitor wave changes during tissue transmission to create higher resolution images.

With the aid of this new technique, researchers achieved detailed images of soft tissue. The scientists used a small-animal scanner to test X-ray dark-field radiography on a living organism. For their investigations, they evaluated and compared images of the lung.

“With X-ray dark-field radiography, structural changes in the lung tissue are visible at an early stage,” said Ali Önder Yildirim of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL).