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Phys Med Biol. 2012 Mar 21;57(6):1617-29. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/57/6/1617. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

Simulation of HyperSPECT: a high-resolution small-animal system with in-line x-ray optics.

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Department of Physics, The Royal Institute of Technology, AlbaNova University Center, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.


SPECT has become an important tool in pre-clinical applications. Small-animal imaging systems based on the use of one or more pinhole collimators now reach sub-half-mm resolution but unfortunately suffer from a compromise between sensitivity and resolution due to the pinhole collimators. We propose a small-animal SPECT system based not on pinholes but on in-line x-ray optics, which is rare in medical imaging systems for nuclear medicine. The x-ray lenses are optimized for 27 keV for low-energy imaging with iodine-125. We believe that this new system, HyperSPECT, can simultaneously improve on sensitivity and resolution compared to today's state-of-the-art systems. A full three-dimensional simulation of the system has been performed including the prism-array lenses, pre- and post-collimators and scintillator-based detector. Images of capillary phantoms have been reconstructed using an iterative image reconstruction method. Sensitivity was uniformly 0.37% throughout the 1 cm diameter spherical field of view and rod sizes of around 100 μm diameter were distinguishable in the images of simulated capillary phantoms. These results indicate an increase in resolution by a factor of 5 during a simultaneous increase in sensitivity by a factor of 2 compared to the current state-of-the-art small-animal SPECT systems.

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