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The Facts about Photon-counting CTGet to know the technology and the benefits

The introduction of photon-counting CT marks the beginning of a new era of precision medicine and clinical decision-making, thanks to a radically new approach to CT technology. For the first time, photon-counting CT directly converts X-rays into electrical signals—offering an entirely new way of generating clinical results that overcomes the limitations previously accepted as unavoidable.

But how exactly does photon-counting work? What are the facts, and what’s just marketing hype? Find out for yourself.

FACT: Photon-counting is more than just spectral imaging

Computed tomography scans offer high-resolution images for detailed information about anatomical structure. Scans can be performed at a speed that can capture a moving organ to empower a confident diagnosis. More recently, spectral information now provides insight into composition and function.

Unfortunately, with current technology, it is not possible to get all three—resolution, speed, and spectral information—at the same time. Users are forced to compromise between high spatial resolution or low dose, high speed acquisition or spectral information.

With photon-counting CT, you can get all these things together in one acquisition—no compromises.

Photon-counting CT provides intrinsic spectral sensitivity in every scan by measuring each X-ray photon against multiple energy thresholds. But that's just one piece of the puzzle. Explore more key advantages of photon-counting CT.

FACT: Photon-counting is a radically different detector technology

Dual layer detectors are not equivalent to photon-counting detectors. Dual layer detectors are still scintillator-based and require light as an intermediate step in converting X-rays to signals. They have the same physical limitations as all conventional energy integrating detectors.

In addition, dual layer detectors have the same challenge as single layer detectors when it comes to integrating electronic noise. The problem is amplified with a dual layer detector because of the interference with more layered components. Photon-counting, on the other hand, allows for the complete elimination of electronic noise.

FACT: NAEOTOM Alpha comes with simple, proven usability

With such a dramatic change in the technology, one might expect photon-counting CT to add complexity and negatively impact your daily routine. However, through innovative technologies, including intelligent imaging guidance with myExam Companion and a mobile, tablet-based workflow, we have designed our photon-counting CT scanners to be simple and efficient to incorporate into broad clinical use.

myExam Companion guides operators through any CT scan procedure, so they can interact easily and naturally with both patient and technology. No matter the user, patient or throughput, it helps generate results that are both personalized and standardized.

myExam Companion is an intelligent imaging guidance that speaks your clinical language. It removes the guess-work and decision overload that frustrate users. It helps you quickly streamline the best exam options to generate high-quality consistent results for each patient.

Unleashing the full power of photon-counting

Our proven usability features support and guide users throughout the scanning workflow, while Al-enabled solutions help radiologists when reading cases.

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Mobile Workflow with SOM X

Stay close to your patient with a tablet-based mobile workflow, with a simple, intuitive interface.

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Unify and centralize intelligent tools in a powerful diagnostic workflow to make routine tasks convenient and efficient.

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FACT: NAEOTOM Alpha is ready for primetime

Siemens Healthineers started basic research on photon-counting almost 20 years ago. The core of this technology is the semiconductor material—both the quality and the fabrication of the material. In 2012, based on their strong history and background in the production of CdTe crystals, we brought Acrorad into the Siemens Healthineers family.

The next step in the journey was working with our global collaboration partners to evaluate the technology from both technical and clinical perspectives. Through the installation of two generations of clinical prototypes beginning in 2014, these valued partners provided immeasurable insight into this groundbreaking technology. This journey culminated with the November 2021 launch of NAEOTOM Alpha: the world's first clinical photon-counting CT.

Innovation is at the core of Siemens Healthineers CT. Following the tradition of leading market innovations, including Dual Source CT, we are proud to be the first CT manufacturer to bring this technology to market.

We have now entered a new era of CT—and NAEOTOM Alpha is ready for primetime.

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