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Phys Med Biol. 2012 Nov 7;57(21):6827-48. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/21/6827. Epub 2012 Oct 3.

Assessment of a three-dimensional line-of-response probability density function system matrix for PET.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


To achieve optimal PET image reconstruction through better system modeling, we developed a system matrix that is based on the probability density function for each line of response (LOR-PDF). The LOR-PDFs are grouped by LOR-to-detector incident angles to form a highly compact system matrix. The system matrix was implemented in the MOLAR list mode reconstruction algorithm for a small animal PET scanner. The impact of LOR-PDF on reconstructed image quality was assessed qualitatively as well as quantitatively in terms of contrast recovery coefficient (CRC) and coefficient of variance (COV), and its performance was compared with a fixed Gaussian (iso-Gaussian) line spread function. The LOR-PDFs of three coincidence signal emitting sources, (1) ideal positron emitter that emits perfect back-to-back γ rays (γγ) in air; (2) fluorine-18 (¹⁸F) nuclide in water; and (3) oxygen-15 (¹⁵O) nuclide in water, were derived, and assessed with simulated and experimental phantom data. The derived LOR-PDFs showed anisotropic and asymmetric characteristics dependent on LOR-detector angle, coincidence emitting source, and the medium, consistent with common PET physical principles. The comparison of the iso-Gaussian function and LOR-PDF showed that: (1) without positron range and acollinearity effects, the LOR-PDF achieved better or similar trade-offs of contrast recovery and noise for objects of 4 mm radius or larger, and this advantage extended to smaller objects (e.g. 2 mm radius sphere, 0.6 mm radius hot-rods) at higher iteration numbers; and (2) with positron range and acollinearity effects, the iso-Gaussian achieved similar or better resolution recovery depending on the significance of positron range effect. We conclude that the 3D LOR-PDF approach is an effective method to generate an accurate and compact system matrix. However, when used directly in expectation-maximization based list-mode iterative reconstruction algorithms such as MOLAR, its superiority is not clear. For this application, using an iso-Gaussian function in MOLAR is a simple but effective technique for PET reconstruction.

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