World’s Biggest Medical Imaging Microchip Heralds Better Treatment for Cancer Patients

The 12.8 cm square chip means that in future doctors will be able to diagnose cancer and see the impact of radiotherapy treatment far more precisely than ever before.

The consortium led by Nigel Allinson, Distinguished Professor of Image Engineering at the University of Lincoln, created “DynAMITe”, the wafer-scale chip that is 200 times larger than the processing chips that lie at the heart of current PCs and laptops.

The images it produces will show very clearly the impact of radiation on tumours as well as aid the detection in the earliest stages. It is also super-strong, being able to survive many years of exposure to radiation.

Prof Allinson said: “DynAMITe was designed for medical imaging, in particular mammography and radiotherapy, so the individual pixels are much larger than those found in consumer digital cameras or mobile phones. 

“As it will withstand exposure to very high levels of x-ray and other radiation, it will operate for many years in the adverse environment of cancer diagnosis and treatment instruments; and represents a major advance over the existing technology of amorphous Silicon panels.”

The project has been funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and involves medical physicists at the ICR and The Royal Marsden Hospital, who are investigating potential applications for the technology.

“Our clinical work has given us an insight into areas in which the existing technology falls short, and we were very pleased the consortium was able to design a microchip that met our exact specifications for medical imaging,” says Professor Phil Evans from the ICR. “We are looking forward to investigating all the potential uses for this chip in cancer research and treatment.”


Media Contact: ICR Science Communications Manager Jane Bunce on 0207 153 5106 or after hours 077217 47900


Notes to editors:


DynAMITe (Dynamic range Adjustable for Medical Imaging Technology) is the world’s largest radiation-hard monolithic CMOS imager for medical imaging applications.

It is an Active Pixel Sensor developed in 0.18 micron CMOS technology. It possesses 1280 x 1280 pixels on a 100-micron pitch coplanar with 2560 x 2560 pixels on a 50-micron pitch.  It can be operated at frame rates up to 90 frames per second. The device is two-side buttable meaning that arrays of 2 x 2 devices can be assembled, with minimal border loss, to provide an imaging area in excess of 25 cm square.

The project was funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under their Basic Technology Translation Grant Scheme (EP/G037671/2). It was designed to meet one of the EPSRC’s identified major research challenges facing the microelectronics industry. The 12.8 cm square imager is the largest device that can be made on a single industry standard eight inch (20 cm) diameter wafer.

The MI-3 Plus consortium consists of medical /life science physicists and engineers from University College London, Institute of Cancer Research (Royal Marsden Hospital) and the University of Surrey as well as the microelectronics design resources at the University of Lincoln.

The MI-3 Plus Consortium members are Professor Nigel M Allinson, Dr Thalis Anaxagoras (University of Lincoln), Professor Robert Speller (University College, London), Professor Phil Evans (The Institute of Cancer Research), and Dr Kevin Wells and Dr Michela Esposito (University of Surrey).

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)

  • The ICR is Europe’s leading cancer research centre
  • The ICR has been ranked the UK’s top academic research centre, based on the results of the Higher Education Funding Council’s Research Assessment Exercise
  • The ICR works closely with partner The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust to ensure patients immediately benefit from new research. Together the two organisations form the largest comprehensive cancer centre in Europe
  • The ICR has charitable status and relies on voluntary income, spending 90 pence in every pound of total income directly on research
  • As a college of the University of London, the ICR also provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction
  • Over its 100-year history, the ICR’s achievements include identifying the potential link between smoking and lung cancer which was subsequently confirmed, discovering that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer and isolating more cancer-related genes than any other organisation in the world

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