A collaboration between scientists at four UK organisations including The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) has created the world’s biggest microchip designed for medical imaging.
The 12.8 cm square chip means that in future doctors will be able to diagnose cancer and see the impact of radiotherapy treatment far more precisely than ever before.
The consortium led by Nigel Allinson, Distinguished Professor of Image Engineering at the University of Lincoln, created “DynAMITe”, the wafer-scale chip that is 200 times larger than the processing chips that lie at the heart of current PCs and laptops.
The images it produces will show very clearly the impact of radiation on tumours as well as aid the detection in the earliest stages. It is also super-strong, being able to survive many years of exposure to radiation.
Prof Allinson said: “DynAMITe was designed for medical imaging, in particular mammography and radiotherapy, so the individual pixels are much larger than those found in consumer digital cameras or mobile phones.
“As it will withstand exposure to very high levels of x-ray and other radiation, it will operate for many years in the adverse environment of cancer diagnosis and treatment instruments; and represents a major advance over the existing technology of amorphous Silicon panels.”
The project has been funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and involves medical physicists at the ICR and The Royal Marsden Hospital, who are investigating potential applications for the technology.
“Our clinical work has given us an insight into areas in which the existing technology falls short, and we were very pleased the consortium was able to design a microchip that met our exact specifications for medical imaging,” says Professor Phil Evans from the ICR. “We are looking forward to investigating all the potential uses for this chip in cancer research and treatment.”