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Investors share a hi-tech vision.

Byline: By James Barton

A HI-TECH company behind a revolutionary process that could generate millions of pounds for the region from X-ray technology has raised pounds 875,000 of investor capital.

The money forms part of a pounds 2m cash injection expected to be raised in total by the end of the year by Durham Scientific Crystals (DSC) from its major shareholder, US technology investor Amphion Innovations and a limited share offering for private investors.

But managing director Dr Arnab Basu believes this is just the beginning.

"Our next funding round scheduled for the next 15 to 18-month period will be on a much more significant scale than the first," he said.

"We are excited by the response of the investment community and these funds will allow us to accelerate our research and development as we further continue to commercialise our products to significantly improve X-ray imaging in various markets," he said.

DSC which was spun out of the physics department of Durham University, produces specialist semi-conductor cadmium telluride crystals, used in the X-ray imaging process in such a way as to greatly reduce cost and size and improve quality.

"The impact of improving one of these factors would be significant - the fact that we have achieved improvement in all three areas is a step-change in this type of technology," Dr Basu said.

"We have opened up areas such as security, medicine and defence, all billion-pound global markets in their own right.

"What sectors we target first and whether we form partnerships with other companies are key commercial decisions we will be taking in the next six to eight months."

DSC employs eight people but plans to double staff over six months - these will be highly-skilled and well paid jobs for PhDs and experienced engineers.

Cadmium telluride materials are currently too expensive and too difficult to produce to be used in large-scale commercial applications, but DSC has developed a breakthrough production method to produce these crystals from a vapour rather than liquid phase, allowing for large scale commercial use in the future.

The transformation to digital X-ray scanners in security imaging will be a significant improvement as the technology may allow faster screening and direct finger-printing of dangerous materials.

In medical imaging, greater X-ray sensitivity and faster imaging will increase the ability to understand diseases such as Alzheimer's and cancer and detect them earlier.


CASH INJECTION: DSC's crystals are the key to fast, fine, X-rays.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 9, 2006
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