New Digital X-ray Readout IC From ams Achieves Clearer Images at Lower Radiation Doses


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ams, a leading worldwide supplier of high performance sensor solutions, introduces a new readout integrated circuit (IC) for digital X-ray flat panel detectors (FPDs) that provides clinicians with clearer images while reducing the patient’s exposure to radiation.

The new AS5850A digital readout IC is a 16-bit, 256-channel charge-to-digital converter for use in static and dynamic digital X-ray scanners, digital radiography, mammography, fluoroscopy, and interventional imaging.

Michael Leitner, General Manager of the Medical Imaging Systems business line at ams, said:

“ams has established a reputation among medical equipment manufacturers for providing signal-chain solutions which offer world-class performance and quality. Much of the imaging equipment in use by the world’s leading hospitals and medical practitioners include ams medical imaging solutions. With the introduction of this standard product for medical imaging equipment, ams is now addressing a wider customer base with the aim of getting world class X-ray diagnostics to patients around the world.”

Superior performance for safer, clearer images

Innovations by ams in circuit design and the CMOS process used at its wafer fab in Graz, Austria underpin the AS5850A’s best-in-class performance ratings for noise, power consumption and speed. In the medical imaging market, manufacturers continually compete to develop equipment that provides clearer, sharper images. Medical practitioners rely on high quality images to guide interventions, or in mammography to enable earlier and more accurate diagnosis of conditions such as breast cancer. At the same time, improvements in technology are helping to reduce the patient’s exposure to the doses of radiation inherent in the operation of radiography and fluoroscopy equipment.

The AS5850A now provides manufacturers with a new way to improve the performance of medical imaging equipment while making its use safer for patients. Low noise of as little as 500 electrons at 2pC and 30pF enables an FPD to recover clearer image outputs from a lower radiation input.

The AS5850A performance is optimized for dynamic radiography applications, achieving a line time of 20µs which can go as low as 10µs in binned mode by combining the inputs from adjacent channels. The device has a special mode for fluoroscopy applications with relaxed noise requirements which allows reaching a line time of 15µs.

By enabling the development of medical equipment which is safer and which improves patient outcomes, the AS5850A contributes to ams’ strategic mission, to develop “Technology for a better lifestyle”.

Configuration options to optimize for different applications

The architecture on which the AS5850A is based is highly programmable, which means that medical imaging equipment manufacturers can base multiple end-product designs on this single device, reducing the development and production cost of meeting different application requirements. The AS5850A is also compatible with many FPD sizes.

Among the various configuration options are speed and power settings. Selectable line time options without binning are 20µs, 28.5µs, 40µs and 80µs. At 80µs, power dissipation per channel is just 1.1mW.

The AS5850A is supplied as standard in a convenient chip-on-flex packaging format to minimize sidewall distances and allow for direct assembly on the X-ray panel. The flex circuit design can be customized to meet the customer’s specific requirement.

A family of AS585x devices is also planned to extend the range of packaging and performance options available to FPD manufacturers. Several devices, with different performance in terms of speed and power dissipation, will be released in the coming months. Also different flex designs will be available, including the option to add a stiffener for compatibility with standard connectors. By providing the AS585x readout ICs in various standard packaging formats, ams will enable manufacturers to take advantage of the ICs’ superior performance characteristics while maintaining their preferred mechanical and design specifications.

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