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Phys Med Biol. 2012 Jul 21;57(14):4545-54. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/14/4545. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Experimental comparison of high-density scintillators for EMCCD-based gamma ray imaging.

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  • 1Department of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 15, 2629 JB, Delft, the Netherlands.


Detection of x-rays and gamma rays with high spatial resolution can be achieved with scintillators that are optically coupled to electron-multiplying charge-coupled devices (EMCCDs). These can be operated at typical frame rates of 50 Hz with low noise. In such a set-up, scintillation light within each frame is integrated after which the frame is analyzed for the presence of scintillation events. This method allows for the use of scintillator materials with relatively long decay times of a few milliseconds, not previously considered for use in photon-counting gamma cameras, opening up an unexplored range of dense scintillators. In this paper, we test CdWO₄ and transparent polycrystalline ceramics of Lu₂O₃:Eu and (Gd,Lu)₂O₃:Eu as alternatives to currently used CsI:Tl in order to improve the performance of EMCCD-based gamma cameras. The tested scintillators were selected for their significantly larger cross-sections at 140 keV ((99m)Tc) compared to CsI:Tl combined with moderate to good light yield. A performance comparison based on gamma camera spatial and energy resolution was done with all tested scintillators having equal (66%) interaction probability at 140 keV. CdWO₄, Lu₂O₃:Eu and (Gd,Lu)₂O₃:Eu all result in a significantly improved spatial resolution over CsI:Tl, albeit at the cost of reduced energy resolution. Lu₂O₃:Eu transparent ceramic gives the best spatial resolution: 65 µm full-width-at-half-maximum (FWHM) compared to 147 µm FWHM for CsI:Tl. In conclusion, these 'slow' dense scintillators open up new possibilities for improving the spatial resolution of EMCCD-based scintillation cameras.

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