Bob Michaels

May 9, 2011

2 Min Read
Scientists Develop Mega-Microchip for Medical Imaging Applications

The DynAMITe microchip has been designed to enhance medical imaging of cancer tumors.

A large microchip developed by scientists at the University of Lincoln (UK) is designed to enhance medical imaging applications. Measuring a whopping 12.8 cm square, the chip could eventually aid in the diagnosis of cancer, enabling doctors to see the impact of radiotherapy treatment more precisely.

Dubbed 'DynAMITe,' the wafer-scale chip is 200 times larger than the chips currently driving PCs and laptops. The images it produces will clearly show the effects of radiation on tumors and help doctors to detect them earlier. And because it is strong, the chip can survive many years of exposure to radiation.

Based on CMOS technology, the microchip is an 0.18-µm active pixel sensor with 1280 × 1280 pixels per 100-µm pitch and 2560 × 2560 pixels per 50-µm pitch. It can be operated at rates of up to 90 frames per second. Arrays of 2 × 2 devices can be assembled with minimal border loss, providing an imaging area greater than 25 cm square.

"DynAMITe was designed for medical imaging, in particular mammography and radiotherapy, so the individual pixels are much larger than those found in consumer digital cameras or mobile phones," remarks Nigel Allinson, distinguished professor of image engineering at Lincoln and the head of a consortium that created DynAMITe. "As it will withstand exposure to very high levels of x-ray and other radiation, it will operate for many years in the adverse environment of cancer diagnosis and treatment instruments; and represents a major advance over the existing technology of amorphous silicon panels."

"Our clinical work has given us an insight into areas in which the existing technology falls short, and we were very pleased the consortium was able to design a microchip that met our exact specifications for medical imaging," says Phil Evans, a professor at the the Institute of Cancer Research (London). "We are looking forward to investigating all the potential uses for this chip in cancer research and treatment."


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