Technology | December 23, 2014

Direct sensing of every photon in an X-ray provides higher image quality


December 23, 2014 — Dectris Ltd. is introducing its hybrid photon counting (HPC) detection technology to enable the next generation of medical imaging equipment.

Until now, X-ray detection in medical imaging has mainly relied on the indirect methods utilized by traditional integrating detectors lacking energy discrimination. Unlike these less sensitive devices, HPC detectors provide direct sensing of every single photon in an X-ray — made possible by innovations including optimized solid-state sensors and CMOS readout ASICs using hybrid pixel technology. Paired with advanced new imaging equipment and analysis algorithms, the additional spectral information will open up a new dimension in specificity.

“Designers and radiologists in the medical imaging world have been anticipating the arrival of detection techniques based on hybrid photon counting. It shall allow best possible image quality and the highest sensitivity at the lowest dose,” said Willi A. Kalender, professor at the Institute for Medical Physics in Erlangen, Germany.

Dectris has produced more than 6,000 HPC detector modules to date for a variety of applications in science and industry. Dectris’ HPC technology delivers:

  • Very high resolution, achieving high signal-to-noise ratio via a noise-free signal with no dark current
  • Very high data rates via dedicated ASIC and electronic design
  • Exclusive spectral information via energy analysis, for simple color imaging
  • High spatial resolution via direct detection, without scintillators, fiber optics, etc.

Potential future applications of the technology include:

  • Highlighting microcalcification in breast tissue, with color images produced by new capabilities for energy analysis
  • Highlighting contrast agents such as iodine in mammography

In addition, tissue differentiation is improved for better-informed diagnosis — with phase-contrast imaging used in combination with HPC.

For more information: medical.dectris.com

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