GE Healthcare, Wauwatosa, Wis., announced its acquisition of Prismatic Sensors AB, a Swedish start-up specializing in photon counting detectors. The company says photon counting CT (PCCT) technology has the potential to establish a new standard of care in oncology, cardiology, neurology, and many other clinical CT applications.

PCCT has the promise to further expand the clinical capabilities of traditional CT, including the visualization of minute details of organ structures, improved tissue characterization, more accurate material density measurement (or quantification), and lower radiation dose. Prismatic Sensors has overcome many challenges working with silicon and patented a novel way to position the silicon sensors “edge on” so the detector is deep enough to absorb very high energy photons and fast enough to count hundreds of millions of CT photons per second. The company was founded in 2012 as a spin-off from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

GE Healthcare says the start-up’s technology offers sharper images with fewer doses of radiation to patients, reports CNBC

“We believe this technology has the potential to be a substantial step forward for CT imaging to establish a new standard of care and eventually improve clinical outcomes for millions of patients worldwide,” says Kieran Murphy, president and CEO, GE Healthcare. “From the first x-ray machines to the first photon counting CT prototype, GE Healthcare is committed to pioneering next generation technologies to achieve precision health and improve lives. We are excited about this cutting-edge approach with Deep Silicon and its clinical potential.”

Murphy also told CNBC that the technology could eventually be used to detect cancers at an earlier stage.

“Our research shows Deep Silicon is the best solution for photon counting CT to meet clinical requirements,” says Mats Danielsson, PhD, CEO of Prismatic Sensors. “Silicon is by far the purest material produced for use in detectors. Alternative materials, including cadmium-based, will be limited as x-ray detector materials due to their imperfect crystal structure and contaminations. Silicon-based detectors will enable superior spectral resolution without compromising on count rate or spatial resolution. Our collaboration with GE Healthcare has been very productive and together, we have made rapid progress. Now, we look forward to the next chapter as we come together as one team working towards bringing photon counting CT with Deep Silicon detectors to the market.”

GE Healthcare expects to close the Prismatic Sensors acquisition by January 2021, after holding a minority position in the company since 2017. GE Healthcare and Prismatic Sensors will work together to deliver a clinical system in the near future. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

For more information, visit GE Healthcare