SK Telecom plans to establish medical semiconductor factory in Korea

SK Telecom (subsidiary of SK Innovation) announced on the 5th May that it will establish a medical semiconductor factory in Korea with Nano-X, an Israeli medical imaging equipment company. The factory will make semiconductors to be used in digital X-ray generators. NanoX’s digital X-ray generator uses semiconductors to generate X-rays. The principle of the existing analog X-ray generator is filament-based.

SK Telecom said, “It has become the second largest shareholder of NanoX.” The accumulated investment amount is $23 million (28.2 billion won). NanoX said on the 4th, “SK Telecom decided to invest a new $20 million, an investment of $5 million a year ago, followed by additional investment.”

NanoX is developing a digital X-ray and CT next-generation imaging device (Nanox.ARC) and is preparing for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval procedure and mass production. It is said that digital imaging equipment can reduce weight to about one fifth of the existing analog X-ray imaging equipment (200kg). 

Analog X-ray imaging equipment generates electrons by heating filaments made of copper and tungsten up to 2000 degrees, so a large cooling device is essential. Digital X-ray imaging equipment is said to generate electrons from about 100 million nano emissions in silicon semiconductors. No need for a large cooling system.

“Nanox’s imaging equipment costs only 10% of the cost per shot, so it can drastically reduce the cost of X-ray and CT imaging in small clinics or in countries with high medical burdens,” said SK Telecom. X-ray and CT imaging equipment, which could only be installed in special environments, can be installed in ambulances or simple clinics through lightweighting.”

SK Telecom, together with ICT affiliates such as SK Hynix, ADT Caps, and Invites Healthcare, is envisioning next-generation medical, security, and industrial services that utilize digital X-ray technology. “The result of fusion of next-generation medical technology with 5G and AI will be a representative example of innovation in the post-corona era,” said SK Telecom President Park Jeong-ho.