Glass-ceramic materials are being developed for use in digital mammography systems. The materials are transparent x-ray storage phosphors, which are potentially less expensive than competing materials with superior performance. The materials do not suffer from loss of resolution and increased noise due to light scattering from grain boundaries, as do the currently available polycrystalline materials. The glass ceramics are based on Eu2+-doped fluorochlorozirconate glasses. These can be heat treated to nucleate Eu-doped barium chloride nanocrystals. The glass ceramic converts ionizing radiation (typically x-rays) into stable electron-hole pairs that can be “read” by scanning a stimulating light beam across the glass to cause photostimulated luminescence (PSL) emission. Measurements on the materials are ongoing to elucidate structure-property relationships developed as a result of introducing rare-earth ions and modifying process conditions. Image quality measurements indicate that the current material competes with state-of-the-art x-ray imaging plates. The paper presents results on structure, properties and future directions of the materials described above.

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