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Med Phys. 2010 Oct;37(10):5494-508.

Effects of multiple-interaction photon events in a high-resolution PET system that uses 3-D positioning detectors.

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Department of Electrical Engineering, Molecular Imaging Instrumentation Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.



The authors' laboratory is developing a dual-panel, breast-dedicated PET system. The detector panels are built from dual-LSO-position-sensitive avalanche photodiode (PSAPD) modules-units holding two 8 x 8 arrays of 1 mm3 LSO crystals, where each array is coupled to a PSAPD. When stacked to form an imaging volume, these modules are capable of recording the 3-D coordinates of individual interactions of a multiple-interaction photon event (MIPE). The small size of the scintillation crystal elements used increases the likelihood of photon scattering between crystal arrays. In this article, the authors investigate how MIPEs impact the system photon sensitivity, the data acquisition scheme, and the quality and quantitative accuracy of reconstructed PET images.


A Monte Carlo simulated PET scan using the dual-panel system was performed on a uniformly radioactive phantom for the photon sensitivity study. To establish the impact of MIPEs on a proposed PSAPD multiplexing scheme, experimental data were collected from a dual-LSO-PSAPD module edge-irradiated with a 22Na point source, the data were compared against simulation data based on an identical setup. To assess the impact of MIPEs on the dual-panel PET images, a simulated PET of a phantom comprising a matrix of hot spherical radiation sources of varying diameters immersed in a warm background was performed. The list-mode output data were used for image reconstruction, where various methods were used for estimating the location of the first photon interaction in MIPEs for more accurate line of response positioning. The contrast recovery coefficient (CRC), contrast to noise ratio (CNR), and the full width at half maximum spatial resolution of the spheres in the reconstructed images were used as figures of merit to facilitate comparison.


Compared to image reconstruction employing only events with interactions confined to one LSO array, a potential single photon sensitivity gain of > 46.9% (> 115.7% for coincidence) was noted for a uniform phantom when MIPEs with summed-energy falling within a +/- 12% window around the photopeak were also included. Both experimental and simulation data demonstrate that < 0.4% of the events whose summed-energy deposition falling within that energy window interacted with both crystal arrays within the same dual-LSO-PSAPD module. This result establishes the feasibility of a proposed multiplexed readout of analog output signals of the two PSAPDs within each module. Using MIPEs with summed-energy deposition within the 511 keV +/- 12% photopeak window and a new method for estimating the location of the first photon interaction in MIPEs, the corresponding reconstructed image exhibited a peak CNR of 7.23 for the 8 mm diameter phantom spheres versus a CNR of 6.69 from images based solely on single LSO array interaction events. The improved system photon sensitivity could be exploited to reduce the scan time by up to approximately 10%, while still maintaining image quality comparable to that achieved if MIPEs were excluded.


MIPE distribution in the detectors allows the proposed photodetector multiplexing arrangement without significant information loss. Furthermore, acquiring MIPEs can enhance system photon sensitivity and improve PET image CNR and CRC. The system under development can therefore competently acquire and analyze MIPEs and produce high-resolution PET images.

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