High Image Quality Direct X-ray Intraoral Imaging System

Period of Performance: 09/01/1998 - 05/31/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Suni Imaging Microsystems, Inc.
San Jose, CA 95119
Principal Investigator


CCD-based digital intraoral radiography systems are starting to replace X-ray film and the associated processing equipment in dentists' office. Foremost on the list of advantages are large reduction in patient X-ray exposure and the ability to perform direct image manipulation, computer storage, and remote information transmission. However all of these systems use scintillator-based converters to detect and image the X-ray field. These systems suffer from a significant reduction in spatial resolution compared to X-ray film. They also produce insufficient contrast necessary to produce the highest possible image quality required to effectively diagnose such diseases as periodontitis, caries, and certain oral tumors. These sensors are also unduly thick which causes significant patient discomfort and problems in sensor positioning. We propose to develop a direct X-ray intraoral imaging system that overcomes these limitations and dramatically improve image quality and resolution approaching that of film, while having a much thinner sensor size compared to available intraoral sensors. This system will use new CMOS silicon technology with X-ray imaging and signal processing functions integrated on the sensor. The incoming X-rays are directly imaged using an X-ray sensitive photoconductor, lead iodide (Pbl2) with nearly 100% efficiency. This low-cost and compact system will overcome the limitations of scintillator-based X-ray imaging sensors and produce the images necessary to extend the usefulness of the digital imaging for oral diagnostic procedures. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: The market for digital intraoral imaging systems is estimated to be in excess of $16 Billion worldwide. A low-cost, compact intraoral X-ray system with significantly higher image quality than current systems provide will find widespread acceptance in dental operatories.