Saint-Gobain Crystals scintillators and detector assemblies have been a key component in nuclear medical diagnostic systems for decades. We offer a range of scintillation options for imaging applications such as Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD), Radioimmunoassay (RIA), surgical probes, blood analysis and whole-body scanning. Saint-Gobain also provides radio translucent sapphire for use in Intraoperative CT and MRI Imaging without distortion or artifacts.
PET technique evolved in the mid-1970s and uses positron-emitting isotopes (e.g. C-11, O-15, F-18) to study chemical and biological processes in the body. PET systems require that the scintillation crystal material be of high enough Z to maximize the photoelectric cross sections for 511 keV, be fast enough to handle the count rates involved and be able to distinguish coincident events.
Pixellated scintillation arrays of high stopping power are used in PET systems to image patients for cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, cardiac issues and other health problems. BGO and LYSO are traditional materials used in this application.
Engineered LYSO scintillator crystal appears to surpass all other materials and promises to be the basis for the next generation of PET cameras.
SPECT nuclear imaging has been around since 1958 when Hal Anger invented the "scintillation camera". Large flat sodium iodide NaI(Tl) crystals, known as gamma camera plates, are the standard for planar or SPECT cameras. These are used for general purpose (whole-body) or organ-specific machines.
Two or more large flat sodium iodide detectors are rotated around the patient to obtain a three-dimensional image of the radioactivity distribution. Nuclear imaging systems determine the radiation distribution, transit time or uptake of a pharmaceutical labeled with a suitable, short-lived radioactive nuclide administered to the patient. The camera’s externally placed NaI(Tl) detector plates measure the radiation, and special imaging devices display the radioactivity distribution. The images yield information about the function of an organ or part of the body. SPECT and PET are two of the imaging techniques used.
Radiation detectors are used in a variety of Medical applications. These include well type detectors to analyze blood samples in test tubes for Radioimmunoassay (RIA), blood volume, red blood cell and other tests. Detectors are also used in surgical probes or whole body scanners. Optical fibers or light guides can also be used in medical imaging applications, particularly where positional information is required or to separate the photomultiplier tubes from high magnetic fields, such as in PET/MR systems. Pixellated arrays can be used for CT and other imaging applications.
Typical configurations include packaged detectors and fully integrated solutions including the photomultiplier tube (PMT) or silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) and electronics.
Detectors with NaI(Tl) crystals integrated with photomultiplier tubes provide an excellent mix of value and performance to measure X-Rays in Bone Mineral Densitometry (BMD) systems. Detectors are also available with special low-energy entrance windows if required. Other crystals, such as LYSO, and light sensors, such as photodiodes and silicon photomultipliers, are also good options for BMD.
To enable better patient outcomes, medical applications entail stringent quality and performance requirements. Saint-Gobain Crystals has been serving the unique needs of our medical OEM’s with Sapphire (single crystal aluminum oxide) in formats such as tubes, pins & rods.
Due to the combination of unique optical, mechanical and electrical properties, sapphire is often the only material available to solve complex engineering design problems.
Transmits in the UV - visible - IR wavelengths, making sapphire ideal for:
Cosmetic Laser Dermatology
High thermal conductivity Allowing for enhanced cooling for laser procedures
Chemically inert, hard, abrasion resistant and biocompatible
Complex shapes achieved by machining, bonding, lamination