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Toray Develops Digital X-ray Inspection Scintillator Panel with World-Leading Resolution that Could Help Enhance Quality and Safety of Nuclear Power Plants, Aircraft Parts, and more

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Mar. 9, 2023

Toray Industries, Inc.

Tokyo, Japan, March 9, 2023 – Toray Industries, Inc., announced today that it has developed a scintillator panel (see Glossary note 1) offering the world’s highest resolution (Glossary note 2) among digital detector array (DDA) systems. The panel’s digital X-ray inspection technology can meet the stringent JIS standard (JIS Z3110:2017) (Glossary note 3). Prospective applications for non-destructive inspection equipment in fields requiring the panel’s high quality include inspecting nuclear power plant piping, aircraft parts, and more. Toray will push ahead with R&D into this technology with a view to commercializing it in 2024.

In recent years, X-ray digital imaging serves in medical testing and many other fields. Scintillators panels incorporating phosphors have employed this imaging to convert X-rays into visible light that sensors detect to obtain real-time image data. Toray independently developed a pixelated scintillator technology that delivers extremely clear X-ray digital images. It does so by dividing the phosphor into sections, with pixel partition walls suppressing the spread of visible light.

The company pushed the envelope of negative photolithography technology to develop a scintillator panel with the world’s highest resolution. Its film is a very thick 400 micrometers, with a line width of 20 micrometers and a high aspect ratio partition. The new panel enabled Toray to reach Class B, the toughest standard for JIS Z3110:2017 for radiographic testing, in a DDA system.

Toray’s breakthrough enables JIS standard inspection digitization, which conventional DDA systems could not handle before. Real-time defect detection and artificial intelligence-based defect detection support contribute to a very robust inspection system.

Combining Toray’s proprietary technology to enhance X-ray resistance and control afterglow makes it possible to handle high-energy X-rays, cut total costs by extending service life while enabling high-speed inspections and handling moving images.

Toray is assessing the use of this technology to inspect piping in nuclear power plants, for which high quality is vital, and check aircraft parts. Applying the company’s new technology to mammograms to screen for breast cancer should enable early detection of microcalcifications in breast cancer.

Toray will leverage core technologies in organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, biotechnology, and nanotechnology to undertake R&D and conceive innovative materials that drive fundamental social change. In so doing, it will endeavor to materialize its corporate philosophy of contributing to society by creating new value through innovative ideas, technologies, and products.

1.  A scintillator panel is an X-ray imaging device component that emits visible light when X-rays and other radiation excite it. Gadolinium oxysulfide and cesium iodide are common scintillators. Sensor pixels detect visible light from a scintillator panel and converted it into image data.
2.  Resolution indicates the smallest resolvable shape and size and visible detail.
3. JIS Standard (JIS Z3110:2017) is the standard for radiographically testing welded joints. Achievement of all classes was made possible by overcoming the challenges of applying cell method scintillators to DDA systems.

Results of compliance testing for JIS Z3110:2017 inspection standard