Sign In
Information about science based innovations, solid facts to support decision-making, performance and business development for VTT’s partners, customers and anyone interested in high technology and its applications.
A magazine on science, technology and business

Photo: Ajat​

X-ray imaging to new heights

Tiina Saario-Kuikko | 4.6.2015

​Ajat is an excellent example of a successful small business that has made it to the global market from Otaniemi, home to many research and development organisations in Finland. The company making X-ray imaging sensors used in medicine and industry plans to retain its technology development and production in Finland.

Ajat began as a three-person company funded by private investors and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation in cooperation with VTT. Today, 15 years later, the company is presenting a new type of x-ray technology: direct conversion. 

– Within dental medicine, we have 20 percent of the global extraoral imaging market, projected to be 40 percent by 2016. We have also managed to get a foothold in the oil and gas industry in the inspection of girth welds for pipes, and inline inspection in the food industry and NDT, says Managing Director Konstantinos Spartiotis.

 

Limitations a thing of the past

Ajat and VTT are working together to develop and manufacture next-generation sensors used in x-ray imaging. 

Earlier X-ray imaging systems used intermediate phosphor or scintillation stages to convert X-rays into light before detection. This indirect method of detection limited the technology’s speed, resolution and efficiency.

Generally only 50% of the X-rays were converted into light, meaning that about half of the X-ray dose is wasted as the image is created by means of indirect conversion.

– Ajat is the first company that banished these limitations to history raising X-ray imaging on to a whole new level. With direct conversion, X-rays impinge on a pure crystalline Cadmium Telluride or Silicon semiconductor substrate and are directly converted into electronic signals, describes Mr Spartiotis.

This results in a much clearer image, thus making it easier to make more accurate diagnoses. Because the stage that converts X-rays to light is no longer necessary, blurring caused by photon scattering is eliminated.

Ajat not only develops and manufactures X-ray sensors but also delivers proprietary software and post-image processing tools. 

 

Tailored solutions

The company is currently working with VTT in the RADI2014 project to develop an intraoral X-ray sensor based on Silicon direct conversion. 

– Ajat is one of the major external users of Micronova cleanroom facilities. It is important to achieve as high an utilisation rate as possible for expensive infrastructures, and it is obviously a benefit to VTT if we can offer companies a production environment. With the RADI2014 project, we are in a position to develop new silicon-based X-ray sensors for Ajat, which will hopefully lead to more business between VTT and Ajat, says VTT’s Key Account Manager Kai-Erik Elers.

Ajat has protected exclusive rights to their inventions and expertise through patents, among other things. The technology applied in the X-ray sensors, imaging and focusing that is used in direct conversion has been protected in Europe, the US and Korea. 

Direct conversion technology has been developed and brought to the market largely through cooperation with Siemens’ Japanese subsidiary, Acrorad.

– Our sensors are suitable not only for dental 2D and 3D imaging but also medicinal science and industry purposes. We respond to customer needs and also tailor solutions for challenging applications. We want to improve imaging products and their quality and functionality, and to reduce production costs by the use of smart processes and automation, says Spartiotis.

 

Full blooded export company

Ajat works in cooperation with equipment manufacturers that use direct conversion sensors in dental X-ray imaging devices based on pure crystalline Cadmium Telluride. 

The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hydridised semiconductor components used in X-ray imaging, making 2,500 pure-crystal cadmium telluride hybrids per month, with a monthly capacity of 4,000. Other capacity has been directed to new market areas. 

Ajat has been using the VTT Micronova cleanroom facilities right from the start in Otaniemi, Espoo. The company has a staff of 42. Net sales were EUR 8.5 million in 2014, expected to climb to EUR 10 million this year.

The biggest overseas customers are from Germany, Japan, Italy, the US, Netherlands and Denmark. 

 

 

VTT Impulsehttps://www.vttresearch.com/ImpulseVTT Impulse
Bioeconomy and circular economyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Bioeconomy-and-circular-economy.aspxBioeconomy and circular economy
Smart industryhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smart-industry.aspxSmart industry
Towards carbon-neutral materialshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Towards-carbon-neutral-materials.aspxTowards carbon-neutral materials
Technology enables good urban livinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Technology-enables-good-urban-living.aspxTechnology enables good urban living
Are environmental claims believable?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Are-environmental-claims-believable.aspxAre environmental claims believable?
Matti Apunen: At the core of the solutionhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/At-the-core-of-the-solution.aspxMatti Apunen: At the core of the solution
Automation gives packages wingshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Automation-gives-packages-wings.aspxAutomation gives packages wings
Better beer based on long-term researchhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Better-beer-based-on-long-term-research.aspxBetter beer based on long-term research
Challenges conceal opportunitieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Challenges-conceal-opportunities.aspxChallenges conceal opportunities
Designers needed in printed technologyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Designers-needed-in-printed-technology.aspxDesigners needed in printed technology
How to become a leading country in flexible energy production systemshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/How-to-become-a-leading-country-in-flexible-energy-production-systems.aspxHow to become a leading country in flexible energy production systems
Intelligence for machineshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Intelligence-for-machines.aspxIntelligence for machines
Minister of Energy would like to expand emissions tradinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Minister-of-Energy-would-like-to-expand-emissions-trading.aspxMinister of Energy would like to expand emissions trading
Same old routine for the next 100 yearshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Same-old-routine-for-the-next-100-years.aspxSame old routine for the next 100 years
World in 2030 - answers to tomorrow’s questionshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/World-in-2030-answers-to-tomorrows-questions.aspxWorld in 2030 - answers to tomorrow’s questions
Impulse 2/2017https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2017.aspxImpulse 2/2017
Controlling friction and greenhouse emissions by digitalising materialshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Controlling-friction-and-greenhouse-emissions-by-digitalising-materials.aspxControlling friction and greenhouse emissions by digitalising materials
Digital societyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digital-society.aspxDigital society
The new agenda enhances the use of research infrastructurehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/The-new-agenda-enhances-the-use-of-research-infrastructure.aspxThe new agenda enhances the use of research infrastructure
Return on investmentshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Return-on-investments.aspxReturn on investments
It is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growthhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/It-is-the-duty-of-entrepreneurs-to-seek-growth.aspxIt is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growth
Autonomous systems are proliferating rapidly in industryhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Autonomous-systems-are-proliferating-rapidly-in-industry.aspxAutonomous systems are proliferating rapidly in industry
Smart Citieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smart-Cities.aspxSmart Cities
Low carbon energyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Low-carbon-energy.aspxLow carbon energy
Health and wellbeinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Health-and-wellbeing.aspxHealth and wellbeing
Business developmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-development.aspxBusiness development
An export product tougher than nailshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/An-export-product-tougher-than-nails.aspxAn export product tougher than nails
Pekka Soini’s Business Finland is an "internationalisation channel" for companieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Pekka-Soini’s-Business-Finland-is-an-internationalisation-channel-for-companies.aspxPekka Soini’s Business Finland is an "internationalisation channel" for companies
Demand for energy storage is growing rapidlyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Demand-for-energy-storage-is-growing-rapidly.aspxDemand for energy storage is growing rapidly
Cyber security requires more than just technological competenceshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cyber-security-requires-more-than-just-technological-competences.aspxCyber security requires more than just technological competences
By measuring you can improvehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/By-measuring-you-can-improve.aspxBy measuring you can improve
Media production and housing services are preparing for the 5G networkshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Media-production-and-housing-services-are-preparing-for-the-5G-networks.aspxMedia production and housing services are preparing for the 5G networks
Ambassadors of service-mindednesshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Ambassadors-of-service-mindedness.aspxAmbassadors of service-mindedness
Impulse 1/2016https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2016.aspxImpulse 1/2016
Cell screening leads to new cancer treatmentshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cell-screening-leads-to-new-cancer-treatments.aspxCell screening leads to new cancer treatments
Business angel speaks out: Growth from the international arenahttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-angel-speaks-out-Growth-from-the-international-arena.aspxBusiness angel speaks out: Growth from the international arena
New breed of business from cellulosehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/New-breed-of-business-from-cellulose.aspxNew breed of business from cellulose
Looking through their eyeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Looking-through-their-eyes.aspxLooking through their eyes
Finland seeking top spot in application of artificial intelligence (AI)https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finland-seeking-top-spot-in-application-of-artificial-intelligence-AI.aspxFinland seeking top spot in application of artificial intelligence (AI)
Transport gets smarthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Transport-gets-smart.aspxTransport gets smart
Clearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technologyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Clearing-the-way-for-new-materials-with-ChemSheet-technology.aspxClearing the way for new materials with ChemSheet technology
Finnish fuel cell technology aims for the worldhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Finnish-fuel-cell-technology-aims-for-the-world.aspxFinnish fuel cell technology aims for the world
More speed to network services with 5Ghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/More-speed-to-network-services-with-5G.aspxMore speed to network services with 5G
Impulse 2/2015https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2015.aspxImpulse 2/2015
Salofa creates rapid tests for monitoring health and the environmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Salofa-creates-rapid-tests-for-monitoring-health-and-the-environment.aspxSalofa creates rapid tests for monitoring health and the environment
Is life cycle assessment method suitable to guide policy decisions? Case of European sustainability 
criteria for biofuelshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Is-life-cycle-assessment-method-suitable-to-guide-policy-decisions.aspxIs life cycle assessment method suitable to guide policy decisions? Case of European sustainability 
criteria for biofuels
Three-dimensional virtual reality and augmented reality – Towards new worldshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Three-dimensional-virtual-reality-and-augmented-reality-Towards-new-worlds.aspxThree-dimensional virtual reality and augmented reality – Towards new worlds
Gerontechnology providing everyday assistance and safetyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Gerontechnology-providing-everyday-assistance-and-safety.aspxGerontechnology providing everyday assistance and safety
Digital ecosystems are emerginghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Digital-ecosystems-are-emerging.aspxDigital ecosystems are emerging