Medical Imaging

Medical Imaging

At the heart of every contemporary X-ray imaging system, there is an analog tungsten filament that has gone essentially unchanged for the past 100 years. As a result, contemporary imaging systems are inefficient, slow, and bulky. Imaging systems designed around Nanox emitters will be efficient, fast, and flexible.

Key Features

Superior Image Quality

Instantaneous switching will improve spectral resolution during multispectral imaging. Beam uniformity, precise exposure control, and dynamic focal spots will improve image quality in all X-ray modalities.

Real-time 3D imaging

High current, fast switching, and simplified exposure control will enable practical distributed source systems. 3D imaging with no moving parts becomes a practical reality.

Improved patient comfort

Decreased exam times and less bulky equipment will improve the patient experience.

Increased imaging speed

Because field effect cathodes are not subject to the space-charge limit, high current at low kV can be achieved. Exposure times may be dramatically shortened, improving patient satisfaction and image quality at the same time.

Dose minimization

Instantaneous switching will enable reduced radiation dose during pulsed imaging. Stationary-gantry tomosynthesis may become a low-dose alternative to CT fluoroscopy.

Portability

Stationary-gantry CT and tomosynthesis will enable dramatic reductions in overall system complexity, size, and weight. Portable 3D imaging becomes a practical reality.

Key Applications

Mammography is one of the most intimate, uncomfortable, and anxiety-provoking exams that any woman experiences. In recent years, doubts about the efficacy of mammography have surfaced,  creating a conundrum for patients and their doctors. Nonetheless, mammography remains the best way to screen for and diagnose breast cancer. But can we make it better? Nanox technology offers a way forward.

2D mammography is the current standard technique for breast cancer screening and diagnosis. Hot cathodes are limited in the amount of power they can put out at the low photon energy levels required for breast imaging, resulting in long exposure times (which are uncomfortable for the patient) and increased motion artifact (which degrades image quality).

Nanox cold cathodes are not subject to the same physical limitation; high power can be put out at low photon energy, resulting in very short exposure times.

Nanox cold cathode-based 2D mammography will give our OEM partner a clear advantage over their competitors. This is anticipated to be one of the first applications of our technology, because it does not require significant changes to the design of existing machines.

3D mammography (aka breast tomosynthesis) has proven to be superior to standard 2D in breast cancer detection. It is widely accepted that 3D will become the new standard for screening mammography within the next 5 years.

The way in which tomosynthesis is currently performed leaves much to be desired, and Nanox technology has the potential to improve upon every pain point of this modality. Nanox technology will keep our OEM partner at the forefront of breast imaging.

Conventional CT – Current state-of-the-art CT machines rely on expensive and cumbersome electronics to meet image quality goals. Nanox technology allows radical simplification of electron beam focusing, resulting in improved sampling and image quality. We anticipate that floating focal spot cathodes for use in standard contemporary moving-gantry CT machines will be one of the first applications of our technology, because our cathodes will simply serve as an upgrade for the hot cathode in existing machines.

Stationary gantry CT – CT is the workhorse of general medical imaging. No other modality is as versatile. Contemporary CT machines are operating at the limits of engineering. Weighing more than 1.5 tons, and spinning at more than four rotations per second, acceleration forces are five times greater than those of a fighter jet. They require power supplies that take up an entire room, and they weigh so much that the floors under them require special reinforcement. And because CT machines are large, heavy, and immobile, even critically ill patients must be brought to the CT scanner, resulting in significant danger.

Nanox cold cathode technology enables the “holy grail” of CT imaging: CT, with no moving parts. While this will require a large investment in new overall system configuration and detector technology, the potential cost benefits to the manufacturer are enormous. There are several potential applications, which define separate verticals:

  • General hospital-based static CT
  • Portable neuro static CT
  • Portable body static CT

External beam radiation therapy is one of the mainstays of modern cancer therapy. Linear accelerators (Linacs) create the treatment beam by accelerating electrons to near the speed of light. Nanox field effect cathode technology has the potential to improve the precision and efficiency of Linear Accelerators, which may translate to better outcomes for patients.

Tomosynthesis machines based on hot cathodes are slow and low-powered. But combined with Nanox cold cathode technology, tomosynthesis can be transformed into something much more valuable: for the first time ever, low-dose, real-time, 3D imaging becomes possible. Live tomosynthesis has several different potential applications, which define separate verticals:

Interventional radiology: Minimally-invasive surgeons perform a wide range of procedures, such as biopsies, tumor ablations, and vascular repair. They have a choice between live 2D imaging, or retrospective 3D imaging. Real-time 3D imaging would offer clear benefit in nearly every existing interventional radiology procedure, and would open the door to a whole new range of procedures that are currently impossible.

Interventional cardiology: Precise real-time imaging is needed to guide the accurate placement of devices such as angioplasty balloons, stents, and artificial valves into the heart. Existing angiography systems offer only live 2D imaging, or retrospective 3D imaging. Live cardiac tomosynthesis would offer clearly superior live 3D imaging.

Radiotherapy guidance: The field of radiation oncology has struggled for decades to accurately target tumors that move during treatment, such as those in the lung. Combinations of prior imaging, triangulation based on surgically implanted devices, and guesswork have been developed, with limited success. A distributed source system using Nanox cold cathodes would enable real-time 3D tracking of tumors while they are being irradiated, allowing increased dose to the tumor while minimizing toxicity to surrounding tissue. This could allow the treatment of previously untreatable tumors, and improve outcomes of current protocols.

Surgical guidance: Surgical guidance systems are used to help surgeons localize anatomical targets and avoid injury to adjacent normal tissue. Current systems use images taken at one point in the past, and then deform them based on live information from specialized external markers and dedicated surgical tools. These techniques are limited by the fact that they cannot account for large changes made during the surgery itself, such as the introduction of implants. The use of real-time 3D imaging to update preoperative CT imaging would ensure that the information surgeons are using is always accurate.

Download the

Medical Imaging BrochureDownload PDF