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Phys Med Biol. 2013 Apr 21;58(8):2641-55. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/58/8/2641. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Cramer-Rao lower bound optimization of an EM-CCD-based scintillation gamma camera.

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Section of Radiation Detection and Medical Imaging, Department of Radiation, Radionuclides and Reactors, Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 15, 2629 JB Delft, The Netherlands.


Scintillation gamma cameras based on low-noise electron multiplication (EM-)CCDs can reach high spatial resolutions. For further improvement of these gamma cameras, more insight is needed into how various parameters that characterize these devices influence their performance. Here, we use the Cramer-Rao lower bound (CRLB) to investigate the sensitivity of the energy and spatial resolution of an EM-CCD-based gamma camera to several parameters. The gamma camera setup consists of a 3 mm thick CsI(Tl) scintillator optically coupled by a fiber optic plate to the E2V CCD97 EM-CCD. For this setup, the position and energy of incoming gamma photons are determined with a maximum-likelihood detection algorithm. To serve as the basis for the CRLB calculations, accurate models for the depth-dependent scintillation light distribution are derived and combined with a previously validated statistical response model for the EM-CCD. The sensitivity of the lower bounds for energy and spatial resolution to the EM gain and the depth-of-interaction (DOI) are calculated and compared to experimentally obtained values. Furthermore, calculations of the influence of the number of detected optical photons and noise sources in the image area on the energy and spatial resolution are presented. Trends predicted by CRLB calculations agree with experiments, although experimental values for spatial and energy resolution are typically a factor of 1.5 above the calculated lower bounds. Calculations and experiments both show that an intermediate EM gain setting results in the best possible spatial or energy resolution and that the spatial resolution of the gamma camera degrades rapidly as a function of the DOI. Furthermore, calculations suggest that a large improvement in gamma camera performance is achieved by an increase in the number of detected photons or a reduction of noise in the image area. A large noise reduction, as is possible with a new generation of EM-CCD electronics, may improve the energy and spatial resolution by a factor of 1.5.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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