Zecotek Medical Systems Inc. today announced that the Malaysian Institute for Micro-electronics Systems (MIMOS), Malaysia's premier center for advanced micro-electronics technology and manufacturing based in Kuala Lumpur, has successfully completed the first commercial production run of the company's new-generation Micro-pixel Avalanche Photo Diodes (MAPD) solid-state photo detectors. First-run production samples are being delivered to key customers in both medical imaging and high-energy physics for further testing.
"We are extremely impressed by the production capabilities of MIMOS," said Dr. A.F. Zerrouk, Chairman, President, and CEO of Zecotek. "The first production runs of our MAPD-2 and MAPD-3 were produced with excellent yields and at a cost that gives Zecotek a significant advantage over competing products. We are confident that with its cost and performance advantages, Zecotek's MAPD will rapidly become the gold standard in photo-detection."
Zecotek's patented MAPDs have been designed in several configurations to offer significant performance and cost advantages over the current photo-multiplier vacuum tubes (PMT) and existing solid state photo-detectors. The MAPD-2 addresses specific, high-demand requirements in high-energy physics such as particle accelerators where PMTs are vulnerable to the magnetic environment created by the superconducting magnets used in the collimation of particle tracks.
The MAPD-3 meets required specifications for advanced, high resolution PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanners and gamma camera applications, particularly when matched with Zecotek's patented LFS scintillation materials. Zecotek is focused on bringing to market cost effective, mass produced MAPDs with consistent key performance parameters, such as high linearity and timing resolution, essential for "time of flight" design configurations used in next generation, high resolution PET medical scanners.
Pre-production MAPDs, developed in Zecotek's own labs, were successfully tested by a number of third-party entities including the University of Washington, which demonstrated that Zecotek's MAPDs, in combination with its patented LFS scintillation crystal, outperformed current PMTs in critical imaging parameters.
"Our laboratory has been using Zecotek's prototype MAPD-2 and MAPD-3 devices in our designs for high-resolution detectors for pre-clinical positron emission tomography (PET) scanners and a PET insert for magnetic resonance (MRI) scanners," reported Dr. Thomas Lewellen, Professor of Radiology and Director of Physics and Instrumentation Development in Nuclear Medicine at the University of Washington and a member of Zecotek's Advisory Board. "We look forward to implementing the improved, production version of the MAPD in our scanning systems. We believe that a solid-state replacement for photomultipliers, such as the MAPD, is essential for a wide range of important detector design advances and for future PET development in particular."
Most solid state photo-detectors developed in the past few years are generally based on the MAPD-1 design concept, originally developed and patented by Prof. Zair Sadygov, Chief Scientist at Zecotek. However, Zecotek has built on this design concept and completed the development of the MAPD-2 and MAPD-3, versions which are compatible with large scale manufacture without compromising the operational characteristics requested by the imaging industries.
PMT based photo-detection devices form a major cost component in the US$1 billion market for PET and PET-CT scanners, representing approximately one-third of the cost of each unit. Existing PMTs are also key components of medical inspection devices used in blood analysis and DNA sequencing. Additional non-medical applications include: gamma ray detectors for homeland security, environmental monitoring, industrial control systems, robotics, biomedical testing, navigation and guidance systems, laser radars and high-energy physics.
The MAPDs will be made available for sale to qualified customers through the company's website.