Siemens Healthineers experts nominated for German Future Award with photon-counting CT

Employees of Siemens Healthineers Professor Thomas Flohr, Dr. Björn Kreisler, and Dr. Stefan Ulzheimer constitute one of the three teams of scientists to be nominated for the German Future Award for their development of the first photon-counting computed tomography (CT) scanner for routine clinical procedures, which is ready for series production. The award, awarded by the President of Germany, is one of the country’s highest distinctions for technology and innovation.
Published on 15. September 2021
Erlangen, Germany | 15.09.2021
Not for publication in the USA
  • Prof. Thomas Flohr, Dr. Björn Kreisler, and Dr. Stefan Ulzheimer nominated for the Federal President’s Award for Technology and Innovation
  • With their novel computed tomography concept and pioneering detector technology, the nominees usher in a new era in radiological diagnostics
  • The photon-counting computed tomography scanner combines high image sharpness and contrast with extremely short image acquisition times, and it provides novel diagnostic information not seen on conventional CT images today
  • Patients benefit from precise, noninvasive diagnosis in cardiology, oncology and pulmonology – for example in lung follow-up checks for COVID-19 – at significantly reduced radiation dose and lower doses of contrast media
Computed tomography (CT) is an indispensable tool of modern medicine for early and fast detection and diagnosis of diseases. It is the backbone of radiological diagnosis. Yet, not all diagnostic questions can be answered using CT imaging. For some diseases, a CT examination will not produce a conclusive diagnosis from which necessary treatment steps can be derived. In such cases, further examinations with other procedures will be required to diagnose the disease reliably. There are also various reasons why certain patient groups are not examined with fast and straightforward CT imaging, which can delay reporting. These reasons include reticence regarding X-ray dose in the case of children and young adults and the commonly used iodinated contrast media in the case of kidney disease patients.

In the early 1930s, the Siemens-Introskop rotates the radiation source and X-ray film around a part of the body for imaging. X-ray tomography was born.


Godfrey Hounsfield and his team develop the first functional computer tomograph in the early 1970s. Shortly after, in 1972, Siemens starts developing their first CT, the “Siretom” for skull diagnostics with market introduction in 1975. Scanning a two-centimeter slice of the brain takes roughly nine minutes. Two years later, Siemens presents its first full-body CT “Somatom”.


With the “Somatom Definition”, Siemens presents the world's first dual-source computer tomograph. The device has two X-ray tubes and two detectors, which enables clinical recordings to be made at a previously unknown speed.


Conventional CT detectors are developed to their full potential, innovation steps are small. With photon-counting technology Siemens Healthineers makes a significant leap in innovation. For example, radiation or contrast media doses can be reduced by up to 40 percent.1

The insides of a Siemens Healthineers computer tomograph