Innovative ams Chip for X-ray Detection Heralds New Era of Lower-cost CT Medical Imaging
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Innovative ams Chip for X-ray Detection Heralds New Era of Lower-cost CT Medical Imaging

AS5950 combines photosensor array and ADC in a single chip, reducing complexity and cost of sensor assembly in 8- and 16-slice CT scanners

PREMSTAETTEN, Austria — (BUSINESS WIRE) — December 18, 2019 — ams (SIX: AMS), a leading worldwide supplier of high-performance sensor solutions, is helping to make computed tomography (CT) scanners substantially more affordable. Through ams expertise in sensor design and packaging, the AS5950 integrated sensor chip for X-ray detection will enable an improved CT detector for more detailed images at lower system costs.

The AS5950 is a CMOS device that combines a high-sensitivity photodiode array and a 64-channel analog-to-digital converter on the same die. As a single chip, the AS5950 is easier to mount in a CT detector module. Current CT scanner manufacturers need to assemble a discrete photodiode array on a complex PCB, connected via long traces to a discrete read-out chip. In 8- and 16-slice CT scanners, replacement of this complex PCB assembly with a single AS5950 chip dramatically reduces the image-noise performance and – importantly – manufacturers’ materials and production costs.

Jose Vinau, Marketing Director for the Medical & Specialty Sensors business line at ams, says: “ams wants to help make CT scanners more affordable and available throughout the world. The introduction of the AS5950 and its module will reduce the hurdles in assembly and manufacturing of an X-ray detector.”

Innovation fuels market growth

ams estimates that the medical imaging market – for 8- and 16-slice CT scanners – is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 10-15%.

ams’ innovation in integrating photodiodes and ADCs in a single chip will help make 8- and 16-slice CT scanners more financially viable for medical equipment buyers, helping drive up demand and accelerate the growth of the market.

The AS5950 comes with an optimum pixel size of 0.98x0.98 mm². However, this can be customized upon request to suit the OEMs specific needs within a reasonably short lead-time.

The sensor can be directly assembled on a substrate using a wire bonding process for manufacturing of a CT module. ams developed with partners the AS5950M, a CT module reference design that simplifies the integration into a complete CT detector. This two-side buttable module has either 2x2 pcs. of AS5950 assembled on one substrate to build a sensor area of 32 x 16 mm² or 2x4 pcs. of AS5950 for a sensor area of 32 x 32 mm².

Computing of sharper medical images

The AS5950’s integrated architecture improves image performance as the optimized wafer-level interconnects between the photodiode array and the read-out circuit allow much lower noise than the board-level traces in a discrete photodiode/ADC assembly. This results in:

The AS5950 also offers fast integration time of as little as 200 µs, to support high scanner rotation speed. The digital data readout can be accessed via SPI interface that also allows to configure the following settings:

The AS5950 sensor IC as well as the AS5950M reference module are available for sampling now. An evaluation kit is also available to interface the sensor as well as the module reference design. It comes with a FPGA board and a software to demonstrate all relevant performance parameters.

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Amy Flécher
Vice President Marketing Communications