Siemens Healthineers announces the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510 (k) clearance of the Naeotom Alpha, the world’s first photon-counting computer tomography.

With a novel system concept and pioneering new detector technology, it ushers in a new era in computed tomography, a technology that determines the course of many medical decisions. Thanks to the revolutionary images provided by photon-counting CTs, more people all over the world will benefit from precise and comprehensive examinations at low radiation and contrast dose – from oncological procedures and heart diagnostics to lung follow-up checks for respiratory illnesses.

The centerpiece of this innovation is the new photon-counting detector whose active detection layer consists of a cadmium telluride one crystal (CdTe) and offers clear advantages over conventional CT detectors. Standard CT detectors convert the X-rays in a two-step process first into visible light that is subsequently detected by a light sensor, ultimately producing the final image. Due to this intermediate step, important information about the energy of the X-rays is lost and no longer available to aid in diagnosis; contrast is reduced, and images lack clarity. The photon-counting CT detector developed by Siemens Healthineers no longer converts the X-rays into visible light. The X-ray photons are converted directly into completely digital electrical signals and then counted without information loss. This adds a wealth of completely new clinically relevant information and improves image sharpness and contrast.

About 15 years ago, work on photon-counting and its clinical vision started at Siemens Healthineers. We always believed in the tremendous clinical value and relentlessly worked on it together with our partners. We are excited that we have received FDA 510(k) clearance.

André Hartung, Head of Diagnostic Imaging at Siemens Healthineers
Improved visualization of the middle and inner ear enabled with photon-counting CT
Lung images of a post-COVID patient with photon-counting CT

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