Philips developed a Highly Innovative Digital Silicon Photomultiplier Technology (Oct. 9, 2009) — Philips Electronics have developed a highly innovative digital silicon photomultiplier technology that will allow faster and more accurate photon counting in a wide range of applications where ultra-low light levels need to be measured.

digital_light_detectionAs with virtually all ‘solid-state’ alternatives, this new digital silicon photomultiplier technology should enable the production of smaller and lighter battery-powered equipment for use in areas such as medical imaging, positron emission tomography (PET), and in-vitro diagnostic tests such as DNA sequencing and protein/DNA microarrays.

Other relevant areas include high-energy physics, night-vision systems and other applications that currently use light detectors that are based on so-called photomultiplier tubes.

The unprecedented performance of Philips’ prototype detector, in terms of its speed and dark count level (background noise), will be presented at the IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference, which will take place on October 25-31 in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Other features include its robustness, low power consumption, light detection efficiency, and very high level of integration of the optical detection and associated electronic components.

“Silicon photomultipliers have many advantages over photomultiplier tubes in terms of size, weight, reliability, maintenance, power consumption and supply voltage. It is expected that the photomultiplier world very soon will be converted to silicon,” explained Prof. dr. ir. Albert J. P. Theuwissen, professor at the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, and a leading digital imaging expert.

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