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IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2006 Jun;25(6):701-11.

Aperture collimation correction and maximum-likelihood image reconstruction for near-field coded aperture imaging of single photon emission computerized tomography.

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Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Coded aperture (CA) imaging originally developed in X-ray astronomy has not been widely used in nuclear medicine due to the decoding complexity of near-field CA images. In this paper, we present a near-field CA imaging technique and image reconstruction method for high sensitivity and high resolution single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). Our approach makes three contributions. First, a correction method for the aperture collimation effect is used to eliminate the near-field artifacts without dual acquisitions of mask and anti-mask images. Second, a maximum-likelihood expectation-maximization (MLEM) deconvolution method is used to restore CA images. Finally, a new MLEM-based algorithm is used to partially reconstruct three-dimensional (3-D) objects from a single projection of CA images. Experiments conducted using a dual-head SPECT system equipped with a parallel-hole collimator and a CA module show a tenfold increase in count sensitivity and significant improvement in image resolution with CA collimation as compared to parallel-hole collimation. Experiments conducted using the same dual-head SPECT system equipped with a pinhole collimator show that when the object is closer to the pinhole collimator the CA image resolution is only slightly inferior to the pinhole collimated image. We found that the MLEM deconvolution method provides an inherent nonnegativity constraint on pixel values and remarkably reduces background activities of CA images. The MLEM reconstruction algorithm for CA images is capable of reconstructing 3-D objects from a single projection and can be potentially extended to full 3-D SPECT reconstruction for CA images.

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