Siemens grows gamma camera crystal effort

July 6, 1995

The nuclear medicine group of Siemens Medical Systems has startedbuilding the first gamma camera detectors using sodium iodidecrystals grown at a new facility the vendor has built at its HoffmanEstates, IL, headquarters. The new crystal-growing factory

The nuclear medicine group of Siemens Medical Systems has startedbuilding the first gamma camera detectors using sodium iodidecrystals grown at a new facility the vendor has built at its HoffmanEstates, IL, headquarters. The new crystal-growing factory isexpected to improve Siemens' nuclear medicine R&D effort andwill reduce the company's dependence on French chemical consortiumSaint-Gobain, which was the only manufacturer of the crystalsin the world until the Siemens program came online, accordingto Paul Kasulis, director of new business units.

Siemens announced at last year's Society of Nuclear Medicinemeeting that it had acquired crystal-growing technology from theUkrainian Institute for Single Crystals in Kharkov and was transferringUkrainian engineers to the U.S. to create its own supply. At thisyear's SNM conference, Siemens said it had built the first detectorsusing the crystals and would begin life-cycle testing of the devices.The company expects to begin production shipments of cameras withthe home-grown crystals in the fall, Kasulis said.

Using crystals of its own manufacture confers a number of advantagesbeyond just self-sufficiency, according to Kasulis. Siemens willnow be able to design crystals to its own specifications for specializeduses such as high-energy imaging or organ-specific applications.

"They will be used commercially, but the windfall is toget crystals pre-commercial -- in other words, to get crystalsto do whatever you want on a research basis," Kasulis said.

Siemens will also supply its crystals to nuclear medicine researchers,as well as other gamma camera vendors. The company has receivedgood manufacturing practices (GMP) approval for the crystal-growingplant and the nuclear medicine group has ISO 9000 certification.