Skip to main content

UNC researchers Jianping Lu and Otto Zhou have spent the last two decades refining technology that makes X-ray machines smaller, faster, safer, and produce clearer images-research that’s changing the world of dentistry, medicine, and security. 

In 2005 Jianping’s son was having trouble breathing. He took him to a local doctor who ordered a CT scan to see what might be the problem. The images that resulted were not very clear leading the doctor to give a diagnosis that could have resulted in a risky surgery. Jianping then took his son to another doctor for another CT scan that came out marginally better. That doctor recommended that they wait a few years and see if his son just grew out of his issues which is exactly what happened, but the experience showed him why the research he was doing at the time with UNC materials scientist Otto Zhou was so important.

Since the early 2000’s Lu and Zhou have been collaborating to improve X-ray technology in the medical field. At the time both were working with nanotubes-tiny tubes made of a single layer of carbon atoms. Lu was theorizing how they might transmit electrons in a simpler, less resistive way, and Zhou was testing the application of that theory in his lab. Their experiments lined up.

Since then Lu and Zhou have worked on numerous projects across campus to create better X-ray sources and imaging systems in the dental and medical fields.

With a lot of collaboration with many fields of study and 16 years worth of work one of Zhou and Lu’s projects will finally be available to doctors; a 3-D dental X-ray device which will provide a big upgrade to current 2-D technology. That’s just one of many projects coming down the pike.

For the complete article please follow the link: A Sharper Image | Endeavors (

Comments are closed.