Building upon a theoretical proposal by Grosjean and colleagues published in 2013, the present paper by Xie and colleagues gives an experimental demonstration of an extraordinarily beautiful and powerful idea. This involves creating an ultra-compact x-ray dosimeter, by embedding an x-ray scintillation cluster with a volume of tens of cubic microns, at the end of an optical fibre, and then using a tiny dielectric horn to couple the scintillator output into the optical fibre. Such ultra-compact x-ray dosimetry paves the way for many applications in science, medicine and industry. These include x-ray dose sensing in ultra-compact environments, real-time spatially resolved dosimetry in radiotherapy and brachytherapy, and x-ray detector modes such as might be obtained by scanning the end of the fibre-embedded x-ray dosimeter in a manner reminscent of scanning near-field optical microscopy. I warmly recommend this exciting and innovative paper to your attention.
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