MCP-based ionizing radiation detectors are used in positron emission and computer-assisted tomography for research and diagnosis using radionuclides.
Currently, nuclear diagnosis is considered to be the most accurate technique in oncology, cardiology and neurosurgery.
An integral part of such medical systems as gamma cameras, SPECT, PET-scanners, scintiscanners are PMTs being detectors of γ-ray which is converted into light radiation by means of NaI(Tl) crystal scintillators. In many applications of X-ray examination techniques, PMTs are used to monitor exposure time and dose.
Advanced X-ray research techniques can use computed radiography as a method of image processing. In this case, the X-ray image hits the phosphor, which is then illuminated by a laser resulting in a weak emission of the visible light. PMT converts this light into electric signal which is then digitized resulting in target image.
PMTs are also employed in equipment used in blood tests for tumor marker, hormones, and viruses.
Another wide area of medical applications for MCP detectors is mass spectrometry. Devices based on time-of-flight MCP detectors are used for the analysis of bio materials. For instance, isotopic mass spectrometry of carbon atoms in direct medical diagnosis of human Helicobacter pylori infection is the most reliable of all diagnostics.
Currently, a number of mass spectrometry systems are being developed and produced that include a detection unit with MCP and allow multicomponent ultramicroanalysis of exhaled air to diagnose a wide range of diseases.
The advantages of such diagnostic base are:
- Possibility of simultaneous identification of several molecules
- High sensitivity and high precision in determining concentrations (10 ppt – 10 ppm) Most of the disease markers detected in exhaled air are at the level of units of ppb
- Fast response (analysis during 5-10 sec)
- Easy handling
- Reasonable cost of the device and its maintenance
- Reduced instrumentation measuring error
- High parametric stability
- Operating independence
The use of mass spectrometry is also effective in determining the presence of performance-enhancing drugs in the blood of athletes and in many other cases.
Other applications of MCP mass spectrometers include:
- neonatal screening
- drug control, doping control
- forensic medicine
- genetic engineering