GE's garnet gemstones advance CT scans

Great news for those who get claustrophobic in CT scanning machines (me)! GE is claiming its new CT scanning technology which uses a garnet gemstones is 50x faster and provides clinicians with dramatically clearer images.

GE has developed a high definition CT scanner based on the garnet gemstone that produces dramatically clearer images.

CT (Computed Tomography) scanners basically turn X-Rays into light by virtue of something called a scintillator which is comprised of a new garnet gemstone material developed by GE (see video below).  The light is converted into electrical signals by a photo diode that results in the image reviewed by a clinician.

It also promises to be 50x times faster than conventional CT scanners and to lower the X-Ray dose to patients. GE claims this is the first major advance in CT scanning in 30 years during which only two materials were used as scintillators.

"The new scintillator we were working to develop had to have at least 50X faster speed, and meet or exceed the other primary factors of light output, transparency, afterglow, radiation damage, density, stopping power, spectral match to the photodiode, and environmental and temperature stability," Jim Vartuli said in a GE blog. He is manager of GE's Advanced Ceramic Laboratory.

GE's new garnet-based CT scintillator

GE said it examined 150,000 material compositions for the scintillator before choosing the garnet gemstone. The technology is used in GE's new Discovery CT750HD scanner. Two other CT scanner makers - Toshiba and Philips - are also claiming recent major advances in CT scan image quality.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com