TechConnect Innovator Spotlight:

TechConnect World Innovation Conference
May 14 - 17, 2017, Washington DC

Smart X-ray Sources, Stellarray


Our smart x-ray sources have programmable x-ray pixels, so we can move the flux source electronically. This eliminates the gantry in CT to make portable 3D imaging systems with no moving parts, faster imaging speeds and lower cost, providing more people access to the best medical radiography.

Primary Application Area: Medical Devices

Technology Development Status: Prototype



The advantages of stationary tomographic x-ray systems have been understood for some time. Stellarray’s technology provides a way towards their practical realization with permanently-sealed, low-cost, high-performing smart x-ray sources. In our sources, a gated cathode array opposite a broad anode plate of roughly the same area, emits electron beams to the anode plate and generates x-rays through conventional line radiation and bremsstrahlung processes. The anode forms a major integral part of the vacuum enclosure of the source. One side of the anode faces in to vacuum and receives the electrons; the other faces outwards, allowing the anode to be directly cooled. In the digitally-addressable smart x-ray sources only a part of the cathode array is turned on at a time to make the x-ray pixels (xels) on the anode. Stellarray has developed prototypes of both top- and side-emitting smart sources, along with unique production tools and processes for them. These include glass casting, vacuum sealing and cold cathode technologies. Our preferred cold cathodes are not carbon nanotubes, which emit debris, but a proprietary “triple point” layered edge emitter which has achieved stable high current density.



Value Proposition: Our x-ray sources will redefine their target markets. Our plain sources are the first to make x-ray a practical sterilization technology in 100 years. They are key to irradiators we are developing for the blood and research irradiator markets. Our smart x-ray sources are another platform which will enable the next two waves in digital radiology – low-cost, low-dose stationary CT and phase contrast imaging. They will enable truly portable digital and tomographic imaging systems for dozens of medical, industrial and scientific applications. They are also the key component in a unique digital research irradiators we are developing for radiobiology and radiochemistry research uses. These will be our first digital products, since they do not require FDA clearance. In most imaging applications we plan to work with system integration partners and focus on developing and supplying our unique sources. A version of the smart x-ray sources can also be used to make the first clinically practical phase contrast imaging systems, which can dramatically lower does and increase resolution, as well a dynamic coded source systems.



National Innovation Awardee

Organization Type: Mid-stage Startup (A or B)



Vetted Programs/Awards: NASA Tech Briefs Create the Future, First Place Winner, Medical Category, 2015
Most Promising Life Science Technology Company, Rice Alliance Life Science Venture Forum 2009

SBIR/STTR Awards: NIH SBIR Phase I & II: Digital Breast Tomosynthesis System, ended 2014
NIH SBIR Phase I Contract: High Intensity Digitally Addressable X-ray Sources, ended 2013
DoE SBIR Phase I (current): Modular Addressable Research Irradiators

External Funding to Date: Texas Emerging Technology Fund, $750,000