Why carbon nanotubes and organic photodiodes matter to X-Ray imaging
During the build-up to the inaugural MediSens conference, we will be taking time to introduce members of our advisory board with interviews and insights, asking questions which we hope will help you understand why they are involved in the event, and explore some of the knowledge you can tap into when you attend.
Dr Sandro Tedde, a senior research scientist at Siemens Healthcare, has spent most of his career working at the cutting edge of X-Ray technologies, and as well as being a supportive member of our advisory board, will also be a guest speaker at the London event.
Can you give a brief summary of your experience in medical imaging?
I’ve been working in the medical imaging field for more than 10 years, with the main focus on the development of novel flat panel X-Ray detectors based on organic semiconductors. In all these years I have also had the opportunity to work on projects which cover almost the entire imaging chain of an X-Ray system, from the detector – to the source – including the automatic exposure unit and anti-scatter grids.
Why are organic semiconductors so important to the future of medicine?
Organic semiconductors have the great advantages of being ‘solution-processable’, which makes the fabrication of large areas in big quantities extremely cost efficient. The inherent flexibility and light weight will allow the realisation of more robust and lightweight X-Ray detectors (e.g. in the portable market).
Nowadays, the performance of Organic Photodiodes (OPDs) in terms of key parameters like leakage current and responsivity is equal to a-Si, which is the state of the art material used in the majority of today’s X-Ray flat panel detectors
You’ve also worked with graphene and carbon nanotubes – how are these relevant to the field of medical imaging?
Carbon nanotubes and graphene have extraordinary material properties which are today not yet exploited in commercially available products.
CNTs, for example, might in the future become the electron beam source (which is used for the generation of X-Rays). Their mechanical, geometrical and electrical properties make them attractive for Field Emission (FE), a cold type of electron emission in counterpart to the thermionic emission used today. The advantages could be an ultrafast switching unit with increased lifetime.
Which patient groups do you feel the most desire to help, or the most personal connection with, and why?
In our last project (EU Founded H2020 – DiCoMo – www.dicomo-project.eu) we aimed to improve the sensitivity and specificity of flat panel X-Ray detectors in particular for Mammography applications, with the combination of an innovative hybrid X-Ray converting layer and a metal oxide amplified pixel array.
If we can reduce the number of false positive or false negative mammograms diagnosis from this approach, a large number of female patients will certainly benefit.
In your work with semiconductors, the word ‘organic’ is sometimes misunderstood to mean biological, rather than polymer based – but has that ever lead to exciting new ideas or concepts from other fields of science?
Cross fertilization is for sure one of the most important triggers for new and innovative ideas. This is why, in research, you should also communicate with people outside of your field of expertise and read about different technologies.
With more than 30 patent applications during your career – are there any that you still think about doing more with?
In particular the oldest patents (around 10 years old) related to the use of OPDs in X-Ray detectors seem to gain importance in the last few years so that they might become interesting as soon as the first X-Ray detectors with OPD technology show up in the market.
Furthermore, I really hope the hybrid approach will make it into the market since in the last years we have built-up a really strong patent portfolio.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve a two-year-old daughter who I try to see as much as I can outside work. Travelling in foreign countries is definitely a passion which I can, at the moment, easily combine with family.
What made you decide to get involved with the MediSens conference?
Siemens Healthineers know that the healthcare environment is changing fundamentally — whether it’s managing an increasing number of patients at lower cost, changing payment models that are putting clinical and financial outcomes into focus, or increasingly demanding day-to-day operations. In facing these challenges, health systems may focus on specific services, merge with other organizations, or automate their processes.
Expectations of healthcare providers towards partners are changing – meaning that simple product vendor or preferred supplier have to go much further than that and become trusted partners.
MediSens is, in my opinion, an excellent platform to increase the dialog between healthcare providers and medical system suppliers.
Find out more
Built by medical practitioners and the world’s foremost digital imaging experts, this conference addresses the need for a more integrated approach to developing medical imaging systems for clinical use. Topics discussed will cover a range of sensor technologies including CCD, CMOS and fibre-based systems from macro to micro, connected by photonics technologies and the requirement for high quality, reliable imaging.
By bringing together medical professionals and the imaging technology supply chain, the audience can gain a better understanding of the challenges and capabilities of today’s advanced medical imagers.