According to IHS Markit, the medical imaging industry's unit volume of semiconductors used in medical imaging will continue to increase. This is due to growing requirements for power savings higher resolution and the need to support integrated security and communications, The market grew at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 8.2 percent, from 46 million in 2015 to 73 million in 2020. Even with increasing demand for energy-efficient and integrated components, year-over-year global revenue growth from semiconductors used in medical imaging was flat, due to optical component price erosion, reaching $1.1 billion in 2015.
One of the most important trends in the semiconductor industry today is the development of chip solutions that integrates several components into a single chip package to minimize size, save energy and lower production cost without sacrificing functionality. As the size of semiconductors continues to decline, imaging systems that used to cost more than a million dollars - and which traditionally required a lot of space to install -- have evolved into smaller, less-expensive systems that can be used in small clinics or doctors' offices.
CMOS image sensors are highly predominant in CT-scan and X-ray systems, allowing amplified cross-sectional image slices of scanned body areas with higher resolution, faster data throughputs and better diagnostics. CMOS is an emerging technology that is preferred over CCD technology, due to lower cost, higher readout speed and less noise. Scanner performance improvements and innovations have significantly increased slice count, leading to faster and clearer images. It is also a lot safer for patients, thanks to its reduced radiation dosage levels.
More power discrete and module semiconductors are required for motor control and input-power refinement -- especially in MRI systems requiring greater magnetic-field strength, with the transition to 3 Tesla (3T) technology. Analog semiconductors are also prevalent in the medical imaging market, due to the integration of low-noise amplifiers, voltage-to-current amplifiers, and multi-channel analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) into single analog front-end integrated circuits (AFE ICs). These circuits are much smaller, and dissipate less power, than earlier-generation parts, while providing twice the performance. Analog advancements have addressed the low-power and low-cost needs of CT scanners with high slice counts and clearer images. A high-resolution ADC must be used during an MRI scan to produce a strong magnetic field.