Redlen Technologies is a leading manufacturer of high resolution Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) semiconductor radiation detectors which are enabling a new generation of high performance detection and imaging equipment including Nuclear Cardiology, CT Scanning, Baggage Scanning and Dirty Bomb Detection.
Silicon has served us well over the last 55 years since the first integrated circuit was invented at Texas Instruments. Today, the symphony of chemistry, physics and engineering required to orchestrate the production of 22nm node chips in the latest Intel or TSMC fabs represents the pinnacle of 21st century technology. As great as Silicon may be as the driver of today's digital world, for many applications its properties make it a terrible semiconductor choice. For example, its electron bandgap is not compatible with light emission for LEDs, while its electrical and thermal properties make it an extremely inefficient choice for power electronics. Fortunately, the periodic table has come to the rescue with a vast array of compound semiconductors waiting to fill the gap.
Earlier this year I wrote about medical imaging and how advanced materials are improving CT and nuclear imaging. That is, semiconductor sensors using CZT materials are lowering x-ray and photon dosages while at the same time improving image quality. This blog expands on the health theme by providing three more examples of how advanced materials will impact human health. Biosensors can help people monitor their health and seek treatment when necessary. Nano-particles can carry and target drug treatment inside a patient’s body, and antimicrobial coatings can substantially reduce the rate of infection.
It is often said that an ideal market for venture investing is a large market on the verge of massive disruption. It is for this reason that the medical imaging market recently came onto my radar. It is a multi-billion dollar market that is on the verge of massive technology and market disruption.
The core technology for radiation-based medical imaging cameras are scintillators. This detector technology was first adopted around 1985 and is comprised of scintillator crystals that convert x-rays and radiation into visible light and a photodiode or photomultiplier tube that converts the light to an electric signal. Sounds like old technology.