Siemens Healthineers invests in new semiconductor factory in Forchheim
6/7/2023 Production of the future News

Siemens Healthineers invests in new semiconductor factory in Forchheim

Siemens Healthineers is building a new factory for growing crystals for semiconductor production at its headquarters in Forchheim in central Franconia. The investment amounts to 80 million euros. The crystals will be used as detector material for the latest generation of computer tomographs. By using the crystals as semiconductor material, quantum-counting devices can produce sharper images with a reduced X-ray dose.

Siemens Healthineers new factory in Forchheim Siemens Healthineers new factory in Forchheim (Image: Siemens Healthineers)
"We deliberately chose the Forchheim site. This is where we are building the world's first quantum-counting computed tomograph, Naeotom Alpha, whose demand has increased enormously since its market launch in 2021 due to its high-resolution imaging," says André Hartung, head of Diagnostic Imaging at Siemens Healthineers. The new building is expected to significantly increase manufacturing capacity for crystals, prevent supply bottlenecks and shorten construction times. Research and development for the complex production of the crystals is also to be expanded. The factory, with a floor space of more than 9,000 square meters, is expected to go into operation in 2026. 

At the heart of Naeotom Alpha is a new quantum-counting detector whose detection layer consists of a cadmium telluride (CdTe) single crystal. Conventional CT detectors first convert X-rays into visible light in a two-step process, which is then detected by a light sensor to produce the final image. This intermediate step means that information about the energy of the X-rays is lost and no longer available to aid diagnosis, according to Siemens. The quantum-counting CT detector converts the X-ray photons directly into fully digital electrical signals. The image data provides new clinically relevant information and improved image sharpness while reducing radiation exposure, the company says. 

The new building in Forchheim is aiming for "LEED Platinum" certification and will be operated in a sustainable CO2-neutral manner. For example, waste heat from production is used to heat the buildings and the company generates its own electricity with a 170kWp photovoltaic system on the roof.
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