TITLE: Amorphous Silicon Array for Medical Imaging
APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY: In medical imaging, this device can provide for real-time electronic imaging in digital radiography (x-rays) and serve as a detector in computerized tomography (CAT scans). One application in medical radiation therapy is related to cancer treatment. Sophisticated techniques exist to pinpoint a tumor and to calculate how to treat it by gamma ray beams: having an imaging device which constantly monitors the beam and projects it on a screen is much superior to current "snapshot" recordings on a series of still x-ray films.
Other applications include:
- Detection of environmental hazards like radon gas
- Digital electronics replace conventional film and shorten time
- Protein structure studies
- DNA sequencing studies
- Routine medical x-rays
- Image can be transmitted instantaneously over phone lines
- No loss of resolution in copies
- Uses existing, proven technologies
- Good spatial resolution
Amorphous (non-crystalline) silicon is currently used for solar cells and fax heads. Victor Perez-Mendez and Selig Kaplan at Berkeley National Laboratory are developing a new technology for charged particle and x-ray detection using amorphous silicon. It can be used in a series of products, including medical imaging.
The technology is based on two-dimensional arrays made from amorphous silicon that contains hydrogen. These arrays, which can be fabricated with an area of up to 12 square inches, provide about one million sensors. When a thin phosphor sheet is deposited on the silicon array, the x-rays are converted into visible light. This light is detected by the array. It is then read out in real time as a digital electronic image using thin film transistors made of the same amorphous silicon material. The image is then manipulated, depending on the application, transferred, and stored electronically.
REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-684