14 Nov 2006   |   News

Durham's digital spin-out wins new funding


Funding round closure

Durham Scientific Crystals Ltd (DSC), a Durham University spin-out developing semiconductor materials for the medical and security imaging markets, has raised £875,000 at £2 per share for the first close of a larger Series F financing, giving the company a valuation of £8.3m post money.

DSC has developed a technology that will be important to making the transition from analogue to digital X-ray imaging. The company’s materials, based on cadmium telluride, can be used as digital detectors of X-rays and gamma rays, and will significantly improve imaging in markets such as airport security and medical imaging.

Cadmium telluride materials are currently too expensive and difficult to produce to be used in large-scale commercial applications. DSC has devised a method of producing the crystals from a vapour phase, rather than the conventional liquid-based techniques. This means the crystals can be produced cheaply enough to be used in large-scale commercial applications.

The transition to digital X-ray scanners in security imaging will allow much faster screening and direct identification of materials such as liquid bombs and plastic explosive, which are hard to distinguish from other plastics using the current technology.

In medical imaging, cadmium telluride offers significant advantages over the current materials, including greater sensitivity to X-rays to enable faster imaging and lower dosing.

The money raised in the latest round will support continued research and development, staffing and overhead expenses. DSC is also working with non-commercial partners to optimise its crystals with electrode technology, making it easier to integrate them into the electronic infrastructure of scanners.

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