Horiba Announces New Crystal Manufacturing Technology for Nuclear Medicine

21 juin 2002

We have successfully developed a new technology that enables the commercial production of larger crystals which are approximately twice the size of existing crystals by introducing computer control in the production of artificial crystals at our crystal production facility in Arizona, USA. This technology enables us to ensure the swift and sound supply of customized crystals which will effectively facilitate nuclear medicine and other frontier studies.

We will further leverage our human resources and technological expertise in cooperation with our US subsidiary and engage in full-scale operations of crystal manufacturing to supply the world with crystals that are indispensable for nuclear medicine, and turn crystal manufacturing into one of our core businesses targeted at the medical community.

The success of conventional crystal production methods heavily depends on skilled employees with rich experience and the knack of knowing the time to end production processes, since it is impossible to know the size of crystals that are forming within the kiln. Because of this limitation, these methods can only produce up to 22-inch diameter crystals (approximately 55 cm).

Following our introduction of computer control technology to facilitate crystal formation, an industry first, we successfully produced 31-inch diameter crystals (approximately 80 cm) of 0.5 tons, with a single crystal (Thallium doped Sodium lodide / NaI(Tl)) being twice the size of those produced by conventional methods. This success has enabled us to formulate plans for commercial production of even larger crystals.

The new technology utilizes a computer to store all the data required for single crystal formation. Then CAE simulates crystal formation to promptly develop crystals in a variety of sizes depending on customer needs, reducing the time to supply customized crystals on a commercial basis.

We have committed our engineering talents in both Japan and the US to developing the new crystal formation technology. Having taken advantage of the time difference, these engineers continued monitoring the formation of crystals using a new monitoring system around the clock. This enabled us to complete the development project in two years, which would have taken another two years otherwise.

Our basic study revealed the great potential of the new crystal formation technology. The success of our Japan-US joint development effort for the development of new crystal formation technology, which followed the commercial success of our key product Motor Exhaust Gas Analyzers, is another crucial step for the Horiba Group in its global development strategy.

Having developed technology that enables computer-controlled larger crystal production, we can ensure the swift and sound supply of customized crystals in various sizes depending on customer needs.

We will strengthen our ties with our US subsidiary and leverage our human resources and technological expertise to commence full-scale crystal production, with an eye to firmly establishing ourselves in nuclear medicine and developing our medical operations into one of our core businesses.