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J Nucl Med. 2006 Dec;47(12):1968-76.

Simultaneous acquisition of multislice PET and MR images: initial results with a MR-compatible PET scanner.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


PET and MRI are powerful imaging techniques that are largely complementary in the information they provide. We have designed and built a MR-compatible PET scanner based on avalanche photodiode technology that allows simultaneous acquisition of PET and MR images in small animals.


The PET scanner insert uses magnetic field-insensitive, position-sensitive avalanche photodiode (PSAPD) detectors coupled, via short lengths of optical fibers, to arrays of lutetium oxyorthosilicate (LSO) scintillator crystals. The optical fibers are used to minimize electromagnetic interference between the radiofrequency and gradient coils and the PET detector system. The PET detector module components and the complete PET insert assembly are described. PET data were acquired with and without MR sequences running, and detector flood histograms were compared with the ones generated from the data acquired outside the magnet. A uniform MR phantom was also imaged to assess the effect of the PET detector on the MR data acquisition. Simultaneous PET and MRI studies of a mouse were performed ex vivo.


PSAPDs can be successfully used to read out large numbers of scintillator crystals coupled through optical fibers with acceptable performance in terms of energy and timing resolution and crystal identification. The PSAPD-LSO detector performs well in the 7-T magnet, and no visible artifacts are detected in the MR images using standard pulse sequences.


The first images from the complete system have been successfully acquired and reconstructed, demonstrating that simultaneous PET and MRI studies are feasible and opening up interesting possibilities for dual-modality molecular imaging studies.

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