PALO ALTO, Calif., - September 18, 2003 - Varian Medical Systems, Inc.(NYSE: VAR), and the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) have been awarded a $5.87 million federal grant to develop ultra-sensitive X-ray inspection technology for cargo screening at airports and seaports. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program. Scientists at the two institutions, which have successfully collaborated in the past to develop flat-panel X-ray detectors for medical applications, will now work to develop large-area, high-resolution digital X-ray sensor arrays for cone-beam computerized tomography (CT). These new large-area detectors, when paired with high-energy X-ray sources such as Varian's Linatron® linear accelerators, will enable technicians to examine the contents of a cargo container more quickly and thoroughly. "The events of September 11, 2001, and more recent events that have highlighted the vulnerability of our air and seaports, point toward an urgent need for more effective and widespread screening of the cargo that flows into this country every day," said Richard M. Levy, PhD, president and CEO of Varian Medical Systems. "On the other hand, an effective solution must minimize the disruption to the flow of worldwide commerce. This collaborative research project seeks to modify and substantially improve state-of-the-art technology so that inspectors can detect contraband in luggage, baggage, and cargo containers quickly and cost-effectively." Currently, flat-panel X-ray imaging technology is very expensive to produce. "The goal is to develop cost-effective methods for making flat-panel sensor arrays that are many times larger than those used for medical imaging," said Michael Green, technical manager for the project and senior scientist at Varian's Ginzton Technology Center, the company's research and development organization. Both Varian and PARC, a subsidiary of Xerox, are investing additional resources into this research project. “This is a complex, multidisciplinary effort that would be difficult for any one company to complete on its own," said Robert Street, PARC senior research fellow and project principal investigator. “Without the ATP funding, the development of new technology from this research would take much longer." Varian Medical Systems plans to commercialize any technology that results from this research by making new components and subsystems available to manufacturers of baggage and cargo screening systems. Varian Medical Systems, Varian, and Linatron are registered trademarks of Varian Medical Systems, Inc. PARC and the Palo Alto Research Center are trademarks of Palo Alto Research Center, Incorporated.
Varian Medical Systems And Palo Alto Research Center Receive Federal Funding To Develop X-Ray Security Systems