The global market for radiation detector devices has been estimated to be $3.2 billion by 2026 according to the research from marketsandmarkets. We have not found any markets estimating the FEL/synchrotron market, but there are 80 such facilities globally and that number is growing. These accelerators are in the process of being upgraded regularly, which represents an important opportunity for new detectors.
The radiation detector market is segmented into three groups, with Medical Diagnostic being the largest. brimRAD has a direct play into all of these markets, as well as the ultrafast FEL/synchrotron market.
Total Radiation Detector Market
Medical imaging represents a huge market and the biomedical industry is enormous.
Driving that is the neverending demand to better understand what is going on in the human body through imaging processes, most of which involve nuclear medicine and therefore nuclear radiation detectors.
For example, the ability to identify a seemingly infinitesimal speck in a woman’s breast using advanced medical imaging equipment may very well mean the difference between the early detection and therefore removal of cancerous cells and the spreading of these cells and ultimate mortality of the patient, who believes she is clean because the medical imaging equipment did not locate the initial cancer cells. The importance of the capability of these radiation detectors cannot be overstated.
Fueling the demand for this kind of research is an aging baby-boomer population which generally has the resources to pay for it. This is an important component as Americans, and people around the world, seek to uncover the secrets of long life. A valuable tool in that process is early detection, of which radiation detection plays a critical role.
Nuclear Medicine: Enormous Appetite for Radiation Detectors
In fact, nuclear medicine, or molecular imaging as it is now called, has an enormous and growing appetite for efficient radiation detectors. These detectors, which operate outside of the body to monitor radiation inside the body, are used to locate or track tumors or other cancerous cells as radioactive fluids pass through them. As stated, such imaging machines may use many radiation detectors, while the numbers of such detectors in non-medical applications is generally far lower.
Radiation detectors are used in radiography and Computer Tomography (CT) X-ray detectors as well as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) detector systems.
Digital radiography is a form of x-ray imaging deploying digital x-ray detectors instead of traditional film. It uses a digital image capture device and emits less radiation than older devices. It is believed to be in the process of replacing CT.
Computed Radiography uses very similar equipment to conventional radiography except that a plate rather than film is deployed.
CT is an imaging procedure that uses special X-ray equipment to create a series of detailed pictures or scans of areas inside the body.
SPECT and PET are nuclear medicine procedures in which a gamma camera rotates around the patient and takes pictures from many angles which the computer then uses to form a tomographic (cross-sectional) image. PET provides higher resolution images while SPECT is far less expensive.
Multi-billion Dollar Race is Underway
There is a multi-billion-dollar race to find the best medical imaging system to understand the various parts of the human body. Nuclear imaging is heavily and predominately involved in this process, thus the need for more and better radiation detectors. An enormous part of this challenge is to locate and identify at increasingly earlier stages cancerous and other deleterious matter.
BrimRAD is in the center of this research focus with the advanced, new radiation detectors that it is making. A primary purpose of brimRAD as a going concern is to make detection systems better. We believe this is in the mainstream of medical research and that brimRAD products have an extraordinarily bright future. The medical industry is well prepared to fund developments in molecular imaging, which have the potential to significantly improve our health and longevity.
(See list below.)
Enormous Global Medical R&D Budget
- $265 Billion Global Medical R&D Budget: New England Journal of Medicine.
- Market Breakdown: U.S.--$119 billion; Europe--$53.6 billion. Japan and China fast growing at $27.6 billion and $6.3 billion annually, respectively.
Safety & Monitoring (also Security/Defense)
brimRAD is well connected into the safety and security market in part because of temporary parent Brimrose Corporation of America’s long association with the U.S. Department of Defense.
There is an intense and very active effort in the United States, and other developed nations to improve the ability to monitor nuclear devices such as dirty bombs. Such concerns are heightened by events such as the one that occurred at the Boston Marathon, even though a nuclear device itself was not exploded there.
Still, we believe that the triggering of one nuclear explosive device may well send this market into orbit. In the meantime, security agencies throughout the world are becoming increasingly aware of this threat.
brimRAD will fit the detectors to whatever application is required--whether it be a handheld radiation detector, wearable device, or some other device.
Nuclear Reactor Safety Represents an Important Application
Nanomarkets predicts that this market will grow faster than the overall market for radiation detectors and systems--undoubtedly in part because it has a smaller base than the medical imaging market--but also because there is a rapid scale-up as the world continues to be plagued by terrorist events, events that increasingly could involve a nuclear component.
A secondary but still important market is the monitoring of power leaks at nuclear power plants. This has become even more important after the recent event at the Fukushima, Japan facility in 2011.
There are a large number of U.S. agencies involved in this effort, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy and of course the Department of Defense and many of its subordinate agencies, including those involved with monitoring the large footprint of nuclear reactors employed in one form or another at numerous DoD facilities.
In the military, backpacks can be specially outfitted with radiation detection devices, as can vehicles.
In terms of fighting potential terrorist activities, there is of course the need for radiation scanning at major transportation and entertainment venues, but also for use at military installations, particularly pertaining to incoming cargo.
Global Security/Defense Budget
- The global defense budget among the 50 largest spending nations is above $1.6 trillion.
Deloitte Global Defense Outlook
- The U.S. Department of Defense budget in 2020 was $715 billion.
U.S. Department of Defense
For example, one application could involve the use of drones equipped with radiation detector systems that could monitor incoming ships to U.S. ports for nuclear materials.
The ability of an effective radiation-monitoring device to identify improper radioactive materials could literally stop a major terrorist activity. It is a responsibility and opportunity that brimRAD takes seriously.
As can be seen from the above Table, the annual, global military R&D budget is approaching $500 billion.
Specialty & Custom
brimRAD also has an important play in the specialty and custom market, which Nanomarkets estimates is even larger than the security & monitoring market.
One component of this is the oil exploration market. Deposits of oil give off a nuclear signature that can be traced by radiation detectors, so it is critical to use radiation detection units to help ensure where these deposits are located prior to expensive drilling. Newer, better radiation detectors would provide an even better capability to more precisely identify these deposits.
NASA also relies on radiation detectors for planetary exploration and other outer space data gathering. There is important natural background radiation that these units are helpful in measuring.
In planetary exploration, surface and subsurface areas give off radiation that is helpful in their characterization.
Radiation detection is also helpful in industrial radiography where it is used for food analysis and for printed circuit boards. In food analysis, food that has deteriorated gives off a different signature than fresh food.
Our first potential product may very well be the CdMgTe picosecond detector we are developing for the Department of Energy. There already is a waiting market for the Hamamatsu detector that has been discontinued. We believe this need is compounded with the constant new and better equipment that is going into free electron lasers and synchrotrons. Our work with the SLAC and Cornell accelerators is leading us on a fast track to commercialization, we believe.