Report: Imaging data converters and amplifiers sales to reach $582M
The continued increase in the number of medical imaging equipment channels represents a driver for the growth of the world's data converters and amplifiers markets. The growth will fuel an increasing demand for portable imaging and technologies, such as multidetector CT systems as well as 3 Tesla MRI, according to a report from Frost & Sullivan, a market research company.

The global market for data converters and amplifiers in medical imaging equipment reveals that the market earned revenues of $315.9 million in 2006 and estimates this to reach $582.7 million in 2011, the report said.

The report also states that vendors with diverse product lines and the skill to integrate more channels with low power consumption will likely enjoy success in this market.

"The exponential increase in the number of channel counts in the current generation of CT and ultrasound equipment has led to the increased usage of data converters as well as amplifiers," said Gowtham Kumar Sampath, a Frost & Sullivan research analyst. "With research underway on 256-slice CT systems, the number of channels is poised to quadruple, thereby further heightening component usage."

The report also noted the integration of data converters and amplifiers has become an emerging trend in the medical imaging equipment market. Although such levels of integration reduce the components' cost, some medical imaging systems will still require stand-alone amplifiers for specific functions.

The high performance requirements, however, demanded by medical imaging equipment vendors, pressure the market at the analog front end, the report said. High-end equipment typically requires extremely high precision and low power consumption with a smaller footprint for portable devices.

"Imaging systems such as ultrasound require a specific variable-gain amplifier compatible with the analog to digital converters (ADCs) in the signal chain," said Sampath. "This is a significant challenge in the design of such amplifiers. While this can also create an opportunity for manufacturers involved in both amplifiers and ADCs, it poses significant challenges to stand-alone amplifier vendors."