IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science

Published by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Online ISSN: 0018-9499
Publications
Article
The Linear Energy Transfer (LET) spectrum produced in microelectronic components during testing with 200 MeV protons is calculated with an intemuclear cascade-evaporation code. This spectrum is compared to the natural space heavy ion environment for various earth orbits. This comparison is used to evaluate the results of proton testing in terms of determining a firm upper bound to the on-orbit heavy ion upset rate and the risk of on-orbit heavy ion failures that would not be detected with protons.
 
Two-compartment model used to represent the kinetics of 201 Tl distribution in the myocardium.  
Scatter plots for the pooled canine data: (a) wash-in rate parameters versus microsphere-derived flow values and (b) scaled static data versus microsphere flows.
Article
Cardiac SPECT is typically performed clinically with static imaging protocols and visually assessed for perfusion defects based upon the relative intensity of myocardial regions. Dynamic imaging, however, has the potential to provide quantitative measures of flow, possibly improving diagnosis. The objective of this study was to compare the information content of dynamic and static thallium SPECT imaging as measures of myocardial perfusion. Studies were performed in four canines, each with an occlusion placed on the left anterior descending coronary artery. Dynamic SPECT imaging was performed at rest and under adenosine stress, and subsets of the data were summed to provide corresponding static datasets for identical physiologic conditions. Microsphere-derived flow measurements were used as the gold standard. The dynamic data were fit to a two-compartment model to provide regional estimates of wash-in rate parameters. Occluded-to-normal ratios were also calculated for each canine study. The results show comparable correlations with microspheres for both wash-in and static scaled image intensities. The dynamic data provided higher defect contrasts, which were more accurate than the static occluded to normal ratios. Preliminary studies were also performed in two patients and the static and dynamic data compared. These results show that dynamic thallium imaging may provide improved diagnostic information compared to static imaging for myocardial perfusion SPECT studies.
 
Article
We describe a GPU-accelerated framework that efficiently models spatially (shift) variant system response kernels and performs forward- and back-projection operations with these kernels for the DIRECT (Direct Image Reconstruction for TOF) iterative reconstruction approach. Inherent challenges arise from the poor memory cache performance at non-axis aligned TOF directions. Focusing on the GPU memory access patterns, we utilize different kinds of GPU memory according to these patterns in order to maximize the memory cache performance. We also exploit the GPU instruction-level parallelism to efficiently hide long latencies from the memory operations. Our experiments indicate that our GPU implementation of the projection operators has slightly faster or approximately comparable time performance than FFT-based approaches using state-of-the-art FFTW routines. However, most importantly, our GPU framework can also efficiently handle any generic system response kernels, such as spatially symmetric and shift-variant as well as spatially asymmetric and shift-variant, both of which an FFT-based approach cannot cope with.
 
Article
High-energy (> 100 keV) photon detectors are often made thick relative to their lateral resolution in order to improve their photon-detection efficiency. To avoid issues of parallax and increased signal variance that result from random interaction depth, we must determine the 3D interaction position in the imaging detector. With this goal in mind, we examine a method of calibrating response statistics of a thick-detector gamma camera to produce a maximum-likelihood estimate of 3D interaction position. We parameterize the mean detector response as a function of 3D position, and we estimate these parameters by maximizing their likelihood given prior knowledge of the pathlength distribution and a complete list of camera signals for an ensemble of gamma-ray interactions. Furthermore, we describe an iterative method for removing multiple-interaction events from our calibration data and for refining our calibration of the mean detector response to single interactions. We demonstrate this calibration method with simulated gamma-camera data. We then show that the resulting calibration is accurate and can be used to produce unbiased estimates of 3D interaction position.
 
Patient Absorbed Dose Rate Map.  
DPM output of target absorbed dose from various sources.  
Article
The DPM (Dose Planning Method) Monte Carlo electron and photon transport program, designed for fast computation of radiation absorbed dose in external beam radiotherapy, has been adapted to the calculation of absorbed dose in patient-specific internal emitter therapy. Because both its photon and electron transport mechanics algorithms have been optimized for fast computation in 3D voxelized geometries (in particular, those derived from CT scans), DPM is perfectly suited for performing patient-specific absorbed dose calculations in internal emitter therapy. In the updated version of DPM developed for the current work, the necessary inputs are a patient CT image, a registered SPECT image, and any number of registered masks defining regions of interest. DPM has been benchmarked for internal emitter therapy applications by comparing computed absorption fractions for a variety of organs using a Zubal phantom with reference results from the Medical Internal Radionuclide Dose (MIRD) Committee standards. In addition, the β decay source algorithm and the photon tracking algorithm of DPM have been further benchmarked by comparison to experimental data. This paper presents a description of the program, the results of the benchmark studies, and some sample computations using patient data from radioimmunotherapy studies using (131)I.
 
Illustration of segmentation results for the first stage of respiration for three different segmentation methodologies for two different patients. The first row shows coronal slices for the first patient, and the second row shows transverse slices for the second patient. The original slices are shown in the first column (a), (f). The cross section of the ellipsoid prior is shown in the second column (b), (g). The third column (c), (h) shows the results of applying our 3-D segmentation algorithm. The next column (d), (i) show the segmentation achieved by Physician 1, and the final column (e), (j) show that by Physician 2. Notice the generally good agreement between the methodologies, except for variation in inclusion of great vessels superiorly.  
Two-way comparisons of segmentation normalized difference versus normalized mean between (a) Physician 1 (Phys1) and 3-D Algorithm (Algo); (b) Physician 2 (Phys2) and Algo; (c) Phys1 and Phys2. In (d) we show the segmentation results for comparison between Algo Stage 1 and registered Stage 7. For all the plots, the upper and lower limits correspond to m d ± 1.96σ d , the 95% agreement limits, where m d and σ d are the mean and standard deviation of the normalized difference. The middle lines correspond to m d .  
Article
The goal of this work is to investigate, for a large set of patients, the motion of the heart with respiration during free-breathing supine medical imaging. For this purpose we analyzed the motion of the heart in 32 non-contrast enhanced respiratory-gated 4D-CT datasets acquired during quiet unconstrained breathing. The respiratory-gated CT images covered the cardiac region and were acquired at each of 10 stages of the respiratory cycle, with the first stage being end-inspiration. We devised a 3-D semi-automated segmentation algorithm that segments the heart in the 4D-CT datasets acquired without contrast enhancement for use in estimating respiratory motion of the heart. Our semi-automated segmentation results were compared against interactive hand segmentations of the coronal slices by a cardiologist and a radiologist. The pairwise difference in segmentation among the algorithm and the physicians was on the average 11% and 10% of the total average segmented volume across the patient, with a couple of patients as outliers above the 95% agreement limit. The mean difference among the two physicians was 8% with an outlier above the 95% agreement limit. The 3-D segmentation was an order of magnitude faster than the Physicians' manual segmentation and represents significant reduction of Physicians' time. The segmented first stages of respiration were used in 12 degree-of-freedom (DOF) affine registration to estimate the motion at each subsequent stage of respiration. The registration results from the 32 patients indicate that the translation in the superior-inferior direction was the largest component motion, with a maximum of 10.7 mm, mean of 6.4 mm, and standard deviation of 2.2 mm. Translation in the anterior-posterior direction was the next largest component of motion, with a maximum of 4.0 mm, mean of 1.7 mm, and standard deviation of 1.0 mm. Rotation about the right-left axis was on average the largest component of rotation observed, with a maximum of 4.6 degrees, mean of 1.6 degrees, and standard deviation of 2.1 degrees. The other rotation and shear parameters were all close to zero on average indicting the motion could be reasonably well approximated by rigid-body motion. However, the product of the three scale factors averaged about 0.97 indicating the possibility of a small decrease in heart volume with expiration. The motion results were similar whether we used the Physician's segmentation or the 3-D algorithm.
 
Article
We previously developed a realistic phantom for the cardiac motion for use in medical imaging research. The phantom was based upon a gated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) cardiac study and using 4D non-uniform rational b-splines (NURBS). Using the gated MRI study as the basis for the cardiac model had its limitations. From the MRI images, the change in the size and geometry of the heart structures could be obtained, but without markers to track the movement of points on or within the myocardium, no explicit time correspondence could be established for the structures. Also, only the inner and outer surfaces of the myocardium could be modeled. We enhance this phantom of the beating heart using 4D tagged MRI data. We utilize NURBS surfaces to analyze the full 3D motion of the heart from the tagged data. From this analysis, time-dependent 3D NURBS surfaces were created for the right (RV) and left ventricles (LV). Models for the atria were developed separately since the tagged data only covered the ventricles. A 4D NURBS surface was fit to the 3D surfaces of the heart creating time-continuous 4D NURBS models. Multiple 4D surfaces were created for the left ventricle (LV) spanning its entire volume. The multiple surfaces for the LV were spline-interpolated about an additional dimension, thickness, creating a 4D NURBS solid model for the LV with the ability to represent the motion of any point within the volume of the LV myocardium at any time during the cardiac cycle. Our analysis of the tagged data was found to produce accurate models for the RV and LV at each time frame. In a comparison with segmented structures from the tagged dataset, LV and RV surface predictions were found to vary by a maximum of 1.5 mm's and 3.4 mm's respectively. The errors can be attributed to the tag spacing in the data (7.97 mm's). The new cardiac model was incorporated into the 4D NURBS-based Cardiac-Torso (NCAT) phantom widely used in imaging research. With its enhanced abilities, the model will provide a useful tool in the study of cardiac imaging and the effects of cardiac motion in medical images.
 
Article
Amplitude binning has become the standard for binning list-mode acquisitions for correction of respiratory motion in PET and SPECT. However, the question of how to detect the presence of and correct for possible hysteresis between the signals obtained from surface movement of the patient's body (whose amplitude is used in binning) and the motion of the heart within the chest remains open. Our hypothesis is that the addition of information from movement of the patient's chest to that obtained from the abdomen may provide the necessary information to detect and allow correction of hysteresis. This study reports our investigation of this hypothesis through combined MRI tracking of the internal motion of the heart and other internal structures with measurement of body surface motion via a bellows about the abdomen and stereo-tracking of markers on the volunteer's chest and abdomen by a visual-tracking system (VTS).
 
Article
Monte Carlo (MC) is a well-utilized tool for simulating photon transport in single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) due to its ability to accurately model physical processes of photon transport. As a consequence of this accuracy, it suffers from a relatively low detection efficiency and long computation time. One technique used to improve the speed of MC modeling is the effective and well-established variance reduction technique (VRT) known as forced detection (FD). With this method, photons are followed as they traverse the object under study but are then forced to travel in the direction of the detector surface, whereby they are detected at a single detector location. Another method, called convolution-based forced detection (CFD), is based on the fundamental idea of FD with the exception that detected photons are detected at multiple detector locations and determined with a distance-dependent blurring kernel. In order to further increase the speed of MC, a method named multiple projection convolution-based forced detection (MP-CFD) is presented. Rather than forcing photons to hit a single detector, the MP-CFD method follows the photon transport through the object but then, at each scatter site, forces the photon to interact with a number of detectors at a variety of angles surrounding the object. This way, it is possible to simulate all the projection images of a SPECT simulation in parallel, rather than as independent projections. The result of this is vastly improved simulation time as much of the computation load of simulating photon transport through the object is done only once for all projection angles.The results of the proposed MP-CFD method agrees well with the experimental data in measurements of point spread function (PSF), producing a correlation coefficient (r(2)) of 0.99 compared to experimental data. The speed of MP-CFD is shown to be about 60 times faster than a regular forced detection MC program with similar results.
 
The CT images. (a) Three orthogonal tomographic views of the body phantom. (b) Three orthogonal maximum intensity projections of the spheres. The scanner bed and other supporting materials have been removed from the coronal view in (b) for better visualization of the size and position of the spheres.  
The 2D Sinograms. (a) The summed body phantom sinogram. (b) The summed sinogram of the two larger spheres. (c) The superimposed sinogram with the contrast=1.0. (d) A noisy realization of the sinogram in (c) with 200k events.  
Article
Estimation of the tracer uptake in a region of interest (ROI) is an important task in emission tomography. ROI quantification is essential for measuring clinical factors such as tumor activity, growth rate, and the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. Accuracy of ROI quantification is significantly affected by image reconstruction algorithms. In penalized maximum-likelihood (PML) algorithm, the regularization parameter controls the resolution and noise tradeoff and, hence, affects ROI quantification. To obtain the optimum performance of ROI quantification, it is desirable to use a moderate regularization parameter to effectively suppress noise without introducing excessive bias. However, due to the non-linear and spatial-variant nature of PML reconstruction, choosing a proper regularization parameter is not an easy task. Our previous theoretical study [1] has shown that the bias-variance characteristic for ROI quantification task depends on the size and activity distribution of the ROI. In this work, we design physical phantom experiments to validate these predictions in a realistic situation. We found that the phantom data results match well the theoretical predictions. The good agreement between the phantom results and theoretical predictions shows that the theoretical expressions can be used to predict the accuracy of ROI activity quantification.
 
Article
Patient motion during cardiac SPECT imaging can cause diagnostic imaging artifacts. We have implemented a Neural Network (NN) approach to decompose monitored patient motion data, gathered during cardiac SPECT imaging, using the Polaris stereo-IR real-time motion-tracking system. Herein, we show the successful decomposition of Polaris motion data into rigid body motion (RBM) and respiratory motion (RM). The motivation for separating RM from RBM is that each is corrected using different methods. The NN requires the input of a RBM threshold sensitivity limit, as well as the median filter window width. A two step approach can be used in setting the median filter width. In the 1st NN run the. median filter window width is initially set to a "fixed" width typical of the respiration period. This Ist NN run does an initial decomposition of the data into RM and RBM. The RM is then fed into an FFT algorithm to produce a respiratory period output file for use during a 2nd NN run, where the median filter width can "adapt" to the patient respiratory rate at each time point. Implementation of the NN was in the UNIX environment with Interactive Data Language (IDL). Decomposition of simulated "signals known exactly" RBM and RM resulted in average value errors less than 0.11 mm for RBM steps, and an overall root mean square error of only 0.3 mm for RM or RBM. Volunteer RBM and RM Polaris data were successfully decomposed by the NN with RBM steps resolved with an average difference of only 0.8 mm as compared to values displayed on the SPECT gantry console which are only to the nearest mm. A plot of the NN RM trace and the synchronized trace from a pneumatic bellows shows virtually identical characteristics. Anthropomorphic phantom RBM and RM were decomposed and used to correct motion in SPECT images during reconstruction. The motion corrected slices looked visually identical to slices acquired without motion, and comparison of slice count pro-, files further confirmed the correction.
 
Article
Developing new detector designs for PET and SPECT imaging systems often leads to problems in adapting existing data acquisition electronics to the requirements for the new devices. As we developed our dMiCE and cMiCE detector concepts [1,2], we found that our existing electronics was inadequate to the task and launched a design effort we have termed our Phase II electronics [3]. Here we report on the implementation and evolution of the Phase II system as a basic building block for a wide variety of data acquisition tasks.
 
Article
Some people may believe that the filtered backprojection (FBP) algorithm does not work if the projection data are measured non-uniformly. Some may also believe that iterative algorithms can automatically handle the non-uniformly sampled data in the projector/backprojector. This paper claims that the FBP algorithm can effectively handle the situation where the angular sampling is not uniform. This paper compares the images that are reconstructed by both the FBP and the iterative Landweber algorithms when the angular sampling is nonuniform. When the iteration number is low, the iterative algorithms do not handle the non-uniform sampling properly. A weighting strategy is then suggested and it makes the image resolution more isotropic. In few-view tomography, the FBP and iterative algorithms both perform poorly if no other prior information is used. We have made the following observations: 1) When using an iterative algorithm, one must use early solutions due to noise amplification. 2) An early solution can have anisotropic spatial resolution if the angular sampling is not uniform. 3) The anisotropic resolution problem can be solved by introducing angle dependent weighting, which is not noise dependent. 4) The weighting is not effective when the iteration number is large. The weighting only affects the early solutions, and does not affect the converged solution. 5) When the iteration number is large, the model-mismatch errors are amplified and cause artifacts in the image. 6) The FBP algorithm is not sensitive to the model-mismatch errors, and does not have the "early solution" problems. 7) In few-view tomography, both FBP and iterative algorithms perform poorly, while the FBP algorithm gives a sharper image than the iterative algorithm does.
 
Article
Abstract- Patient body-motion and respiratory-motion impacts the image quality of cardiac PET or SPECT perfusion images. Several algorithms exist in the literature to correct for motion within the iterative maximum-likelihood reconstructionframework. In this work, three algorithms are derived using Poisson statistics to correct for patient motion. The first one is a motion compensated MLEM algorithm (MC-MLEM). The next two algorithms called MGEM-1 and MGEM-2 (short for Motion Gated EM, 1 and 2) use the motion states as subsets, in two different ways. Experiments were performed with NCAT phantoms with exactly known motion as the source and attenuation distributions. The SIMIND Monte Carlo simulation software was used to create SPECT projection images of the NCAT phantoms. The projection images were then modified to have Poisson noise levels equivalent to that of clinical acquisition. We investigated application of these algorithms to correction of (1) a large body-motion of 2 cm in Superior-Inferior (SI) and Anterior-Posterior (AP) directions each and (2) respiratory motion of 2 cm in SI and 0.6 cm in AP. We obtained the bias with respect to the NCAT phantom activity for noiseless reconstructions as well as the bias-variance for noisy reconstru tions. The MGEM-1 advanced along the bias-variance curve faster than the MC-MLEM with iterations. The MGEM-1 also lowered the noiseless bias (with respect to NCAT truth) faster with iterations, compared to the MC-MLEM algorithms, as expected with subset algorithms. For the body motion correction with two motion states, after the 9 th iteration the bias was close to that of MC-MLEM at iteration 17, reducing the number of iterations by a factor of 1.89. For the respiratory motion correction with 9 motion states, based on the noiseless bias, the iteration reduction factor was approximately 7. For the MGEM-2, however, bias-plot or the bias-variance-plot saturates with iteration because of successive interpolation error.
 
Matlab Simulation Model
shows plots of FWHM as a function of the amplifier IP2 and IP3, respectively. IP3 is seen to have negligible impact on the FWHM of the pulses. In large part, this is intuitively pleasing as the effect of circuit nonlinearities is to generate new spectrum, this is commonly referred to as spectral regrowth in power amplifier used in communication applications. Although nonlinearities will create new spectrum, the total energy associated with the analog signal is preserved, thus having minimal impact on the FWHM performance of the analog portion of the SiPM channel. This suggests that digitization of signals early in the interface chain is possible in future architectures. However, 2n d order nonlinearities are seen to have an impact on the FWHM. This effect is still under evaluation but believed to be from DC components generated by the 2n d order. 50 � � 40 0 .;; ::l "0 30 VI OJ cr: > 20 � OJ c:: w 10 0-50
Energy Resolution vs Signal-to-Noise Ratio  
Energy Resolution vs Channel Bandwidth  
Article
The recent realization of Silicon Photomultiplier (SiPM) devices as solid-state detectors for Positron Emission Tomography holds the promise of improving image resolution, integrating a significant portion of the interface electronics, and potentially lowering the power consumption. Our lab has previously reported on novel board-level readout electronics for an 8×8 silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) array featuring row/column summation technique to reduce the hardware requirements for signal processing and is currently working on taking the next step by implementing a monolithic CMOS chip which is based on the row-column architecture. To date, relatively little modeling has been done to understand the impact of analog non-idealities associated with the front-end electronics, on SiPM-based PET systems. This paper focuses on various analog impairments associated with PET scanner readout electronics. Matlab was used as a simulation platform to model the noise, linearity and signal bandwidth of the frontend electronics with the measured SiPM pulses as the input.
 
Article
We demonstrate a position sensitive avalanche photodiode (PSAPD) based compact gamma camera for the application of small animal single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). The silicon PSAPD with a two-dimensional resistive layer and four readout channels is implemented as a gamma ray detector to record the energy and position of radiation events from a radionuclide source. A 2 mm thick monolithic CsI:Tl scintillator is optically coupled to a PSAPD with a 8mm×8mm active area, providing submillimeter intrinsic spatial resolution, high energy resolution (16% full-width half maximum at 140 keV) and high gain. A mouse heart phantom filled with an aqueous solution of 370 MBq (99m)Tc-pertechnetate (140 keV) was imaged using the PSAPD detector module and a tungsten knife-edge pinhole collimator with a 0.5 mm diameter aperture. The PSAPD detector module was cooled with cold nitrogen gas to suppress dark current shot noise. For each projection image of the mouse heart phantom, a rotated diagonal readout algorithm was used to calculate the position of radiation events and correct for pincushion distortion. The reconstructed image of the mouse heart phantom demonstrated reproducible image quality with submillimeter spatial resolution (0.7 mm), showing the feasibility of using the compact PSAPD-based gamma camera for a small animal SPECT system.
 
Article
We developed high resolution L(Y)SO detectors for human and animal PET applications using Photomultiplier-quadrant-sharing (PQS) technology. The crystal sizes were 1.27 × 1.27 × 10 mm(3) for the animal PQS-blocks and 3.25 × 3.25 × 20 mm(3) for human ones. Polymer mirror film patterns (PMR) were placed between crystals as reflector. The blocks were assembled together using optical grease and wrapped by Teflon tape. The blocks were coupled to regular round PMT's of 19/51 mm in PQS configuration. List-mode data of Ga-68 source (511 KeV) were acquired with our high yield pileup-event recovery (HYPER) electronics and data acquisition software. The high voltage bias was 1100V. Crystal decoding maps and individual crystal energy resolutions were extracted from the data. To investigate the potential imaging resolution of the PET cameras with these blocks, we used GATE (Geant4 Application for Tomographic Emission) simulation package. GATE is a GEANT4 based software toolkit for realistic simulation of PET and SPECT systems. The packing fractions of these blocks were found to be 95.6% and 98.2%. From the decoding maps, all 196 and 225 crystals were clearly identified. The average energy resolutions were 14.0% and 15.6%. For small animal PET systems, the detector ring diameter was 16.5 cm with an axial field of view (AFOV) of 11.8 cm. The simulation data suggests that a reconstructed radial (tangential) spatial resolution of 1.24 (1.25) mm near the center is potentially achievable. For the wholebody human PET systems, the detector ring diameter was 86 cm. The simulation data suggests that a reconstructed radial (tangential) spatial resolution of 3.09(3.38) mm near the center is potentially achievable. From this study we can conclude that PQS design could achieve high spatial resolutions and excellent energy resolutions on human and animal PET systems with substantially lower production costs and inexpensive readout devices.
 
Article
We study the noise characteristics of an image reconstruction algorithm that incorporates a model of the non-stationary detector blurring (DB) for a mouse-imaging positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. The algorithm uses ordered subsets expectation maximization (OSEM) image reconstruction, which is used to suppress statistical noise. Including the non-stationary detector blurring in the reconstruction process (OSEM(DB)) has been shown to increase contrast in images reconstructed from measured data acquired on the fully-3D MiCES PET scanner developed at the University of Washington. As an extension, this study uses simulation studies with a fully-3D acquisition mode and our proposed FORE+OSEM(DB) reconstruction process to evaluate the volumetric contrast versus noise trade-offs of this approach. Multiple realizations were simulated to estimate the true noise properties of the algorithm. The results show that incorporation of detector blurring (FORE+OSEM(DB)) into the reconstruction process improves the contrast/noise trade-offs compared to FORE+OSEM in a radially dependent manner. Adding post reconstruction 3D Gaussian smoothing to FORE+OSEM and FORE+OSEM(DB) reduces the contrast versus noise advantages of FORE+OSEM(DB).
 
Article
This study evaluated the image quality metrics of small animal PET scanners based upon measured single detector module positioning performance. A semi-analytical approach was developed to study PET scanner performance in the scenario of multiple realizations. Positron range blurring, scanner system response function (SRF) and statistical noise were included in the modeling procedure. The scanner sensitivity map was included in the system matrix during maximum likelihood expectation maximization (MLEM) reconstruction. Several image quality metrics were evaluated for octagonal ring PET scanners consisting of continuous miniature crystal element (cMiCE) detector modules with varying designs. These designs included 8 mm and 15 mm thick crystal detectors using conventional readout with the photosensors on the exit surface of the crystal and a 15 mm thick crystal detector using our proposed sensor-on-the-entrance (SES) design. For the conventional readout design, the results showed that there was a tradeoff between bias and variance with crystal thickness. The 15 mm crystal detector had better detection task performance, while quantitation task performance was degraded. On the other hand, our SES detector had similar detection efficiency as the conventional design using a 15 mm thick crystal and had similar intrinsic spatial resolution as the conventional design using an 8 mm thick crystal. The end result was that by using the SES design, one could improve scanner quantitation task performance without sacrificing detection task performance.
 
Article
Our goal is to study the trade-off between image degradation and improved detection efficiency and resolution from allowing multiplexing in multi-pinhole (MPH) SPECT, and to determine the optimal pinhole number for MPH design. We used an analytical 3D MPH projector and two digitized phantoms: the mouse whole body (MOBY) phantom and a hot sphere phantom to generate noise-free and noisy projections, simulating pinhole collimators fitted with pre-studied pinhole patterns. We performed three schemes to achieve different degrees of multiplexing: 1. Fixed magnification and detection efficiency; 2. Fixed detection efficiency and changed magnification; 3. Fixed magnification and changed detection efficiency. We generated various noisy data sets by simulating Poisson noise using differently scaled noise-free projections and obtained 20 noise realizations for each setting. All datasets were reconstructed using 3D MPH ML-EM reconstruction method. We analyzed the quantitative accuracy by the normalized-mean-square-error. We evaluated the image contrast for the hot sphere phantom simulation, and also the image noise by the average normalized-standard-deviation of certain pixels for different degrees of multiplexing. Generally, no apparent artifacts were observed in the reconstructed images, illustrating the effectiveness of reconstructions. Bias increased for increased degree of multiplexing. Contrast was not significantly affected by multiplexing in the specific simulation scheme (1). Scheme (2) showed that excessive multiplexing to improve image resolution would not improve the overall trade-off of bias and noise compared to no multiplexing. However, scheme (3) showed that when comparing to no multiplexing, the trade-off improved initially with increased multiplexing by allowing more number of pinholes to improve detection efficiency. The trade-off reached a maximum and decreased with further multiplexing due to image degradation from increased bias. The optimal pinhole number was 7 for a compact camera with size of 12 cm × 12 cm and 9 for a standard gamma camera with size of 40 cm × 40 cm in this scheme. We conclude that the gains in improved detection efficiency and resolution by increased multiplexing are offset by increased image degradations. All the aforementioned factors must be considered in the optimum MPH collimator design for small animal SPECT imaging.
 
Article
The development of an innovative detector technology for photon-counting in X-ray imaging is reported. This new generation of detectors, based on pixellated cadmium telluride (CdTe) and cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) detector arrays electrically connected to application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) for readout, will produce fast and highly efficient photon-counting and energy-dispersive X-ray imaging. There are a number of applications that can greatly benefit from these novel imagers including mammography, planar radiography, and computed tomography (CT). Systems based on this new detector technology can provide compositional analysis of tissue through spectroscopic X-ray imaging, significantly improve overall image quality, and may significantly reduce X-ray dose to the patient. A very high X-ray flux is utilized in many of these applications. For example, CT scanners can produce ~100 Mphotons/mm(2)/s in the unattenuated beam. High flux is required in order to collect sufficient photon statistics in the measurement of the transmitted flux (attenuated beam) during the very short time frame of a CT scan. This high count rate combined with a need for high detection efficiency requires the development of detector structures that can provide a response signal much faster than the transit time of carriers over the whole detector thickness. We have developed CdTe and CZT detector array structures which are 3 mm thick with 16×16 pixels and a 1 mm pixel pitch. These structures, in the two different implementations presented here, utilize either a small pixel effect or a drift phenomenon. An energy resolution of 4.75% at 122 keV has been obtained with a 30 ns peaking time using discrete electronics and a (57)Co source. An output rate of 6×10(6) counts per second per individual pixel has been obtained with our ASIC readout electronics and a clinical CT X-ray tube. Additionally, the first clinical CT images, taken with several of our prototype photon-counting and energy-dispersive detector modules, are shown.
 
Article
Our lab has previously reported on novel board-level readout electronics for an 8×8 silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) array featuring row/column summation technique to reduce the hardware requirements for signal processing. We are taking the next step by implementing a monolithic CMOS chip which is based on the row-column architecture. In addition, this paper explores the option of using diagonal summation as well as calibration to compensate for temperature and process variations. Further description of a timing pickoff signal which aligns all of the positioning (spatial channels) pulses in the array is described. The ASIC design is targeted to be scalable with the detector size and flexible to accommodate detectors from different vendors. This paper focuses on circuit implementation issues associated with the design of the ASIC to interface our Phase II MiCES FPGA board with a SiPM array. Moreover, a discussion is provided for strategies to eventually integrate all the analog and mixed-signal electronics with the SiPM, on either a single-silicon substrate or multi-chip module (MCM).
 
Article
The expectation maximization (EM) algorithm for the maximum likelihood (ML) image reconstruction criterion generates severe checkerboard artifacts in the presence of noise. A classical remedy is to impose an a priori constraint for a penalized ML or maximum a posteriori probability solution. The penalty reduces the checkerboard artifacts and also introduces uncertainty because a priori information is usually unknown in clinic. Recent theoretical investigation reveals that the noise can be divided into two components: one is called null-space noise and the other is range-space noise. The null-space noise can be numerically estimated using filtered backprojection (FBP) algorithm. By the FBP algorithm, the null-space noise annihilates in the reconstruction while the range-space noise propagates into the reconstructed image. The aim of this work is to investigate the relation between the null-space noise and the checkerboard artifacts in the ML-EM reconstruction from noisy projection data. Our study suggests that removing the null-space noise from the projection data could improve the signal-to-noise ratio of the projection data and, therefore, reduce the checkerboard artifacts in the ML-EM reconstructed images. This study reveals an in-depth understanding of the different noise propagations in analytical and iterative image reconstructions, which may be useful to single photon emission computed tomography, where the noise has been a major factor for image degradation. The reduction of the ML-EM checkerboard artifacts by removing the null-space noise avoids the uncertainty of using a priori penalty.
 
Article
VIP-PIX will be a low noise and low power pixel readout electronics with digital output for pixelated Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) detectors. The proposed pixel will be part of a 2D pixel-array detector for various types of nuclear medicine imaging devices such as positron-emission tomography (PET) scanners, Compton gamma cameras, and positron-emission mammography (PEM) scanners. Each pixel will include a SAR ADC that provides the energy deposited with 10-bit resolution. Simultaneously, the self-triggered pixel which will be connected to a global time-to-digital converter (TDC) with 1 ns resolution will provide the event's time stamp. The analog part of the readout chain and the ADC have been fabricated with TSMC 0.25 μm mixed-signal CMOS technology and characterized with an external test pulse. The power consumption of these parts is 200 μW from a 2.5 V supply. It offers 4 switchable gains from ±10 mV/fC to ±40 mV/fC and an input charge dynamic range of up to ±70 fC for the minimum gain for both polarities. Based on noise measurements, the expected equivalent noise charge (ENC) is 65 e(-) RMS at room temperature.
 
Article
Patient motion is inevitable in SPECT and PET due to the lengthy period of time patients are imaged and patient motion can degrade diagnostic accuracy. The goal of our studies is to perfect a methodology for tracking and correcting patient motion when it occurs. In this paper we report on enhancements to the calibration, camera stability, accuracy of motion tracking, and temporal synchronization of a low-cost visual tracking system (VTS) we are developing. The purpose of the VTS is to track the motion of retro-reflective markers on stretchy bands wrapped about the chest and abdomen of patients. We have improved the accuracy of 3D spatial calibration by using a MATLAB optical camera calibration package with a planar calibration pattern. This allowed us to determine the intrinsic and extrinsic parameters for stereo-imaging with our CCD cameras. Locations in the VTS coordinate system are transformed to the SPECT coordinate system by a VTS/SPECT mapping using a phantom of 7 retro-reflective spheres each filled with a drop of Tc(99m). We switched from pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) network cameras to fixed network cameras to reduce the amount of camera drift. The improved stability was verified by tracking the positions of fixed retro-reflective markers on a wall. The ability of our VTS to track movement, on average, with sub-millimeter and sub-degree accuracy was established with the 7-sphere phantom for 1 cm vertical and axial steps as well as for an arbitrary rotation and translation. The difference in the time of optical image acquisition as decoded from the image headers relative to synchronization signals sent to the SPECT system was used to establish temporal synchrony between optical and list-mode SPECT acquisition. Two experiments showed better than 100 ms agreement between VTS and SPECT observed motion for three axial translations. We were able to track 3 reflective markers on an anthropomorphic phantom with a precision that allowed us to correct motion such that no loss in visual quality was noted in motion corrected slices relative to motion free slices.
 
Article
An internuclear cascade-evaporation code is used to model energy deposition in thin slabs of silicon. This model shows that protons produce a significant number of events with effective Linear Energy Transfer (LET) greater than 8 MeV cm2/mg and demonstrates that proton testing of microelectronic components can be an effective way to screen devices for low earth orbit susceptibility to heavy ions.
 
Mean 95% AUC confidence interval length plotted versus m + n with m = n and ω 1 = ω 2 = 0.025. The plots correspond to true AUC values of 0.6 (top left), 0.75 (top right), and 0.9 (bottom left). (bottom right) The ratio of the MCIL to the MCIL plotted versus m + n for AUC = 0.6, 0.75, and 0.9.
Article
This paper is motivated by the problem of image-quality assessment using model observers for the purpose of development and optimization of medical imaging systems. Specifically, we present a study regarding the estimation of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for the observer and associated summary measures. This study evaluates the statistical advantage that may be gained in ROC estimates of observer performance by assuming that the difference of the class means for the observer ratings is known. Such knowledge is frequently available in image-quality studies employing known-location lesion detection tasks together with linear model observers. The study is carried out by introducing parametric point and confidence interval estimators that incorporate a known difference of class means. An evaluation of the new estimators for the area under the ROC curve establishes that a large reduction in statistical variability can be achieved through incorporation of knowledge of the difference of class means. Namely, the mean 95% AUC confidence interval length can be as much as seven times smaller in some cases. We also examine how knowledge of the difference of class means can be advantageously used to compare the areas under two correlated ROC curves, and observe similar gains.
 
Article
X-ray fluorescence computed tomography (XFCT) is a synchrotron-based imaging modality employed for mapping the distribution of elements within slices or volumes of intact specimens. A pencil beam of external radiation is used to stimulate emission of characteristic X-rays from within a sample, which is scanned and rotated through the pencil beam in a first-generation tomographic geometry. One limitation of XFCT is the long image acquisition time required to acquire a complete set of line integrals one-by-one. Typically, even if only a portion of a slice through the object is of interest, measurement lines are acquired spanning the entire object at every projection view over 180 degrees to avoid reconstructing images with so-called truncation artifacts. In this work, we show that when attenuation is negligible, recent developments in tomographic reconstruction theory can be used to reduce the scanning effort required to reconstruct regions of interest within the slice. The new theory provides explicit guidance as to which line integrals must be measured for a given ROI and also provides a backprojection-filtration reconstruction algorithm that averts the truncation artifacts that typically plague filtered backprojection reconstructions from truncated data. This is demonstrated through simulation studies and with real synchrotron-based XFCT data.
 
Article
Position-sensitive avalanche photodiodes (PSAPDs) are gaining widespread acceptance in modern PET scanner designs, and owing to their relative insensitivity to magnetic fields, especially in those that are MRI-compatible. Flood histograms in PET scanners are used to determine the crystal of annihilation photon interaction and hence, for detector characterization and routine quality control. For PET detectors that use PSAPDs, flood histograms show a characteristic pincushion distortion when Anger logic is used for event positioning. A small rotation in the flood histogram is also observed when the detectors are placed in a magnetic field. We first present a general purpose automatic method for spatial distortion correction for flood histograms of PSAPD-based PET detectors when placed both inside and outside a MRI scanner. Analytical formulae derived for this scheme are based on a hybrid approach that combines desirable properties from two existing event positioning schemes. The rotation of the flood histogram due to the magnetic field is determined iteratively and is accounted for in the scheme. We then provide implementation details of a method for crystal identification we have previously proposed and evaluate it for cases when the PET detectors are both outside and in a magnetic field. In this scheme, Fourier analysis is used to generate a lower-order spatial approximation of the distortion-corrected PSAPD flood histogram, which we call the 'template'. The template is then registered to the flood histogram using a diffeomorphic iterative intensity-based warping scheme. The calculated deformation field is then applied to the segmentation of the template to obtain a segmentation of the flood histogram. A manual correction tool is also developed for exceptional cases. We present a quantitative assessment of the proposed distortion correction scheme and crystal identification method against conventional methods. Our results indicate that our proposed methods lead to a large reduction in manual labor and indeed can routinely be used for calibration and characterization studies in MRI-compatible PET scanners based on PSAPDs.
 
Article
The goal of this work is to develop a novel, accurate, real-time digital baseline restorer using online statistical processing for a high count-rate digital system such as positron emission tomography (PET). In high count-rate nuclear instrumentation applications, analog signals are DC-coupled for better performance. However, the detectors, pre-amplifiers and other front-end electronics would cause a signal baseline drift in a DC-coupling system, which will degrade the performance of energy resolution and positioning accuracy. Event pileups normally exist in a high-count rate system and the baseline drift will create errors in the event pileup-correction. Hence, a baseline restorer (BLR) is required in a high count-rate system to remove the DC drift ahead of the pileup correction. Many methods have been reported for BLR from classic analog methods to digital filter solutions. However a single channel BLR with analog method can only work under 500 kcps count-rate, and normally an analog front-end application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) is required for the application involved hundreds BLR such as a PET camera. We have developed a simple statistics-based online baseline restorer (SOBLR) for a high count-rate fully digital system. In this method, we acquire additional samples, excluding the real gamma pulses, from the existing free-running ADC in the digital system, and perform online statistical processing to generate a baseline value. This baseline value will be subtracted from the digitized waveform to retrieve its original pulse with zero-baseline drift. This method can self-track the baseline without a micro-controller involved. The circuit consists of two digital counter/timers, one comparator, one register and one subtraction unit. Simulation shows a single channel works at 30 Mcps count-rate with pileup condition. 336 baseline restorer circuits have been implemented into 12 field-programmable-gate-arrays (FPGA) for our new fully digital PET system.
 
Article
In the paper, we present a new hardware acceleration method to speedup the ordered-subsets expectation-maximization (OS-EM) algorithm for quantitative SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) image reconstruction with varying focal-length fan-beam (VFF) collimation. By utilizing the geometrical symmetry of VFF point-spread function (PSF), compensation for object-specific attenuation and system-specific PSF are accelerated using currently available PC video/graphics card technologies. A ten-fold acceleration of quantitative SPECT reconstruction is achieved.
 
Article
We have developed and validated a realistic simulation of random coincidences, pixelated block detectors, light sharing among crystal elements and dead-time in 2D and 3D positron emission tomography (PET) imaging based on the SimSET Monte Carlo simulation software. Our simulation was validated by comparison to a Monte Carlo transport code widely used for PET modeling, GATE, and to measurements made on a PET scanner. METHODS: We have modified the SimSET software to allow independent tracking of single photons in the object and septa while taking advantage of existing voxel based attenuation and activity distributions and validated importance sampling techniques implemented in SimSET. For each single photon interacting in the detector, the energy-weighted average of interaction points was computed, a blurring model applied to account for light sharing and the associated crystal identified. Detector dead-time was modeled in every block as a function of the local single rate using a variance reduction technique. Electronic dead-time was modeled for the whole scanner as a function of the prompt coincidences rate. Energy spectra predicted by our simulation were compared to GATE. NEMA NU-2 2001 performance tests were simulated with the new simulation as well as with SimSET and compared to measurements made on a Discovery ST (DST) camera. RESULTS: Errors in simulated spatial resolution (full width at half maximum, FWHM) were 5.5% (6.1%) in 2D (3D) with the new simulation, compared with 42.5% (38.2%) with SimSET. Simulated (measured) scatter fractions were 17.8% (21.3%) in 2D and 45.8% (45.2%) in 3D. Simulated and measured sensitivities agreed within 2.3 % in 2D and 3D for all planes and simulated and acquired count rate curves (including NEC) were within 12.7% in 2D in the [0: 80 kBq/cc] range and in 3D in the [0: 35 kBq/cc] range. The new simulation yielded significantly more realistic singles' and coincidences' spectra, spatial resolution, global sensitivity and lesion contrasts than the SimSET software.
 
Article
We have previously reported on continuous miniature crystal element (cMiCE) PET detectors that provide depth of interaction (DOI) positioning capability. A key component of the design is the use of a statistics-based positioning (SBP) method for 3D event positioning. The Cramer-Rao lower bound (CRLB) expresses limits on the estimate variances for a set of deterministic parameters. We examine the CRLB as a useful metric to evaluate the performance of our SBP algorithm and to quickly compare the best possible resolution when investigating new detector designs.In this work, the CRLB is first reported based upon experimental results from a cMiCE detector using a 50×50×15-mm(3) LYSO crystal readout by a 64-channel PMT (Hamamatsu H8500) on the exit surface of the crystal. The X/Y resolution is relatively close to the CRLB, while the DOI resolution is more than double the CRLB even after correcting for beam diameter and finite X (i.e., reference DOI position) resolution of the detector. The positioning performance of the cMiCE detector with the same design was also evaluated through simulation. Similar with the experimental results, the difference between the CRLB and measured spatial resolution is bigger in DOI direction than in X/Y direction.Another simulation study was conducted to investigate what causes the difference between the measured spatial resolution and the CRLB. The cMiCE detector with novel sensor-on-entrance-surface (SES) design was modeled as a 49.2×49.2×15-mm(3) LYSO crystal readout by a 12×12 array of 3.8×3.8-mm(2) silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) elements with 4.1-mm center-to-center spacing on the entrance surface of the crystal. The results show that there are two main causes to account for the differences between the spatial resolution and the CRLB. First, Compton scatter in the crystal degrades the spatial resolution. The DOI resolution is degraded more than the X/Y resolution since small angle scatter is preferred. Second, our maximum likelihood (ML) clustering algorithm also has limitations when developing 3D look up tables during detector calibration.
 
Mean centroid offset vs. ray angle in a CsI scintillator for a 140 keV gamma ray.  
(a) Schematic diagram of the experimental setup with the FC scintillator. The red lines indicate the boundaries of the emitted gamma rays from the source and the yellow shading indicates light emitted from scintillation events; (b) a photograph of the actual experimental setup.  
Article
Preclinical SPECT offers a powerful means to understand the molecular pathways of drug interactions in animal models by discovering and testing new pharmaceuticals and therapies for potential clinical applications. A combination of high spatial resolution and sensitivity are required in order to map radiotracer uptake within small animals. Pinhole collimators have been investigated, as they offer high resolution by means of image magnification. One of the limitations of pinhole geometries is that increased magnification causes some rays to travel through the detection scintillator at steep angles, introducing parallax errors due to variable depth-of-interaction in scintillator material, especially towards the edges of the detector field of view. These parallax errors ultimately limit the resolution of pinhole preclinical SPECT systems, especially for higher energy isotopes that can easily penetrate through millimeters of scintillator material. A pixellated, focused-cut (FC) scintillator, with its pixels laser-cut so that they are collinear with incoming rays, can potentially compensate for these parallax errors and thus improve the system resolution. We performed the first experimental evaluation of a newly developed focused-cut scintillator. We scanned a Tc-99m source across the field of view of pinhole gamma camera with a continuous scintillator, a conventional "straight-cut" (SC) pixellated scintillator, and a focused-cut scintillator, each coupled to an electron-multiplying charge coupled device (EMCCD) detector by a fiber-optic taper, and compared the measured full-width half-maximum (FWHM) values. We show that the FWHMs of the focused-cut scintillator projections are comparable to the FWHMs of the thinner SC scintillator, indicating the effectiveness of the focused-cut scintillator in compensating parallax errors.
 
Article
Patient motion during cardiac SPECT imaging can cause diagnostic imaging artifacts. We investigated the feasibility of monitoring patient motion using the Polaris motion-tracking system. This system uses passive infrared reflection from small spheres to provide real-time position data with vendor stated 0.35 mm accuracy and 0.2 mm repeatability. In our configuration, the Polaris system views through the SPECT gantry toward the patient's head. List-mode event data was temporally synchronized with motion-tracking data utilizing a modified LabVIEW virtual instrument that we have employed in previous optical motion-tracking investigations. Calibration of SPECT to Polaris coordinates was achieved by determining the transformation matrix necessary to align the position of four reflecting spheres as seen by Polaris, with the location of Tc-99m activity placed inside the sphere mounts as determined in SPECT reconstructions. We have successfully tracked targets placed on volunteers in simulated imaging positions on the table of our SPECT system. We obtained excellent correlation (R(2) > 0.998) between the change in location of the targets as measured by our SPECT system and the Polaris. We have also obtained excellent agreement between the recordings of the respiratory motion of four targets attached to an elastic band wrapped around the abdomen of volunteers and from a pneumatic bellows. We used the axial motion of point sources as determined by the Polaris to correct the motion in SPECT image acquisitions yielding virtually identical point source FWHM and FWTM values, and profiled maximum heart wall counts of cardiac phantom images, compared to the reconstructions with no motion.
 
Article
We report patient motion in 110 Tl-201 cardiac perfusion SPECT studies in 66 patients. The imaging consisted of emission followed by sequential transmission imaging during which motion tracking with a visual tracking system (VTS) was performed. We investigated the extent, time, and frequency of respiratory and rigid-body motion in these patients. We also determined whether the motion occurred gradually or in sudden jumps, whether it was sustained, and if it occurred along one or more axes predominantly. We then studied the differences in respiratory and body motion (BM), if any, between stress versus rest imaging groups, male versus female subjects, and exercise versus pharmacological stress groups. We found that 23% of the studies had sustained motion (> 4min.) of between 3-6 mm, and 5% had sustained motion larger than 6 mm during emission imaging. In terms of respiratory motion, 13% showed a downward trend of the respiratory baseline of more than 6 mm during emission imaging. Also, in 9% of the studies, the average position of patients was displaced by more than 3 mm between emission and transmission imaging phases. Both of these motions may lead to misalignment of the attenuation map. In hypothesis testing of grouped studies, it was determined that stress and rest imaging did not show any significant differences in body motion but did in respiratory motion associated with a change in respiration following stress. Exercise-stress studies showed a larger extent of respiratory motion than the pharmacologically induced stress studies. Significant differences in body and respiratory motion of male and female groups were also observed. A visual assessment of the reconstructed slices in the studies with measured motion was made to investigate the impact of the motion. Illustrative example studies are included.
 
Article
In SPECT imaging, photon transport effects such as scatter, attenuation and septal penetration can negatively affect the quality of the reconstructed image and the accuracy of quantitation estimation. As such, it is useful to model these effects as carefully as possible during the image reconstruction process. Many of these effects can be included in Monte Carlo (MC) based image reconstruction using convolution-based forced detection (CFD). With CFD Monte Carlo (CFD-MC), often only the geometric response of the collimator is modeled, thereby making the assumption that the collimator materials are thick enough to completely absorb photons. However, in order to retain high collimator sensitivity and high spatial resolution, it is required that the septa be as thin as possible, thus resulting in a significant amount of septal penetration for high energy radionuclides. A method for modeling the effects of both collimator septal penetration and geometric response using ray tracing (RT) techniques has been performed and included into a CFD-MC program. Two look-up tables are pre-calculated based on the specific collimator parameters and radionuclides, and subsequently incorporated into the SIMIND MC program. One table consists of the cumulative septal thickness between any point on the collimator and the center location of the collimator. The other table presents the resultant collimator response for a point source at different distances from the collimator and for various energies. A series of RT simulations have been compared to experimental data for different radionuclides and collimators. Results of the RT technique matches experimental data of collimator response very well, producing correlation coefficients higher than 0.995. Reasonable values of the parameters in the lookup table and computation speed are discussed in order to achieve high accuracy while using minimal storage space for the look-up tables. In order to achieve noise-free projection images from MC, it is seen that the inclusion of the RT implementation for septal penetration increases the speed of the simulation by a factor of about 7,500 compared to the conventional SIMIND MC program.
 
Article
This paper presents a feasibility study for using two new imaging geometries for synchrotron X-ray fluorescence emission tomography (XFET) applications. In the proposed approaches, the object is illuminated with synchrotron X-ray beams of various cross-sectional dimensions. The resultant fluorescence photons are detected by high-resolution imaging-spectrometers coupled to collimation apertures. To verify the performance benefits of the proposed methods over the conventional line-by-line scanning approach, we have used both Monte Carlo simulations and an analytical system performance index to compare several different imaging geometries. This study has demonstrated that the proposed XFET approach could lead to a greatly improved imaging speed, which is critical for making XFET a practical imaging modality for a wide range of applications.
 
Article
An x-ray crystallography detector (Blue-1) has been built based upon a Fairchild 486 back-illuminated CCD and a custom lens system designed by Optics One Inc. The advantages of our Blue-1 lens system over more conventional fiber-optic tapers are: lower noise and higher efficiency; improved point spread function; negligible spatial distortion; and lack of "chicken-wire" patterns. Also, the engineering is simpler because the CCD is not bonded to the fiber-optic taper. A unique mechanical design has been employed to accurately focus the image on the CCD. The detector software is based on MATLAB and takes advantage of its powerful imaging and signal processing libraries. The CCD timing can be updated on the fly by using a "CCD controller language" to specify timing.
 
Article
The high light output and fast decay time of LaBr3:Ce scintillation detectors leads to excellent timing performance. To realize the potential of timing resolution with LaBr3:Ce we have investigated the performance with SiPMs, which enable 1-to-1 coupling to individual crystals, and which have been optimized for the near-ultraviolet (NUV) scintillation light emission of LaBr3:Ce. Coincidence timing resolution (CTR) of 100 ps was measured for a 4×4×5 mm(3) LaBr3:30%Ce crystal directly coupled to a large-area 4×4 mm(2) NUV-SiPM. Results show very little dependence on temperature, in the range of -20° to 20°C, and bias voltage, from 2 V to 5 V over breakdown. Optimal performance was achieved at an over-voltage (OV) range of 3 V - 5 V, at which high gain and high photon detection efficiency are achieved. Though saturation was evident at 511 keV, an energy resolution of 6.8% was measured after correcting for non-linearity. We also measured a CTR of 110 ps for a 4×4×5mm(3) LaBr3:5%Ce crystal and 245 ps for a 4×4×30 mm(3) LaBr3:5%Ce crystal using the NUV-SIPM. The poorer timing measurement for the 30-mm long crystal is due mainly to a systematic shift in the time pick-off as a function of the depth-of-interaction. The excellent temperature stability, fast rise time, high gain, and low noise of the NUV-SiPM make it a practical and highly appealing photodetector for the readout of a LaBr3:Ce TOF-PET detector.
 
Article
We present an analytical method for the estimation of rigid-body motion in sets of three-dimensional SPECT and PET slices. This method utilizes mathematically defined generalized center-of-mass points in images, requiring no segmentation. It can be applied to compensation of the rigid-body motion in both SPECT and PET, once a series of 3D tomographic images are available. We generalized the formula for the center-of-mass to obtain a family of points co-moving with the object's rigid-body motion. From the family of possible points we chose the best three points which resulted in the minimum root-mean-square difference between images as the generalized center-of-mass points for use in estimating motion. The estimated motion was used to sum the sets of tomographic images, or incorporated in the iterative reconstruction to correct for motion during reconstruction of the combined projection data. For comparison, the principle-axes method was also applied to estimate the rigid-body motion from the same tomographic images. To evaluate our method for different noise levels, we performed simulations with the MCAT phantom. We observed that though noise degraded the motion-detection accuracy, our method helped in reducing the motion artifact both visually and quantitatively. We also acquired four sets of the emission and transmission data of the Data Spectrum Anthropomorphic Phantom positioned at four different locations and/or orientations. From these we generated a composite acquisition simulating periodic phantom movements during acquisition. The simulated motion was calculated from the generalized center-of-mass points calculated from the tomographic images reconstructed from individual acquisitions. We determined that motion-compensation greatly reduced the motion artifact. Finally, in a simulation with the gated MCAT phantom, an exaggerated rigid-body motion was applied to the end-systolic frame. The motion was estimated from the end-diastolic and end-systolic images, and used to sum them into a summed image without obvious artifact. Compared to the principle-axes method, in two of the three comparisons with anthropomorphic phantom data our method estimated the motion in closer agreement to than of the Polaris system than the principal-axes method, while the principle-axes method gave a more accurate estimation of motion in most cases for the MCAT simulations. As an image-driven approach, our method assumes angularly complete data sets for each state of motion. We expect this method to be applied in correction of respiratory motion in respiratory gated SPECT, and respiratory or other rigid-body motion in PET.
 
Article
Task-based assessments of image quality constitute a rigorous, principled approach to the evaluation of imaging system performance. To conduct such assessments, it has been recognized that mathematical model observers are very useful, particularly for purposes of imaging system development and optimization. One type of model observer that has been widely applied in the medical imaging community is the channelized Hotelling observer (CHO). Since estimates of CHO performance typically include statistical variability, it is important to control and limit this variability to maximize the statistical power of image-quality studies. In a previous paper, we demonstrated that by including prior knowledge of the image class means, a large decrease in the bias and variance of CHO performance estimates can be realized. The purpose of the present work is to present refinements and extensions of the estimation theory given in our previous paper, which was limited to point estimation with equal numbers of images from each class. Specifically, we present and characterize minimum-variance unbiased point estimators for observer signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that allow for unequal numbers of lesion-absent and lesion-present images. Building on this SNR point estimation theory, we then show that confidence intervals with exactly-known coverage probabilities can be constructed for commonly-used CHO performance measures. Moreover, we propose simple, approximate confidence intervals for CHO performance, and we show that they are well-behaved in most scenarios of interest.
 
Article
In this work we investigate how the intrinsic spatial resolution varies with the number of digitized readout channels for a 64 (8×8) channel detector using a statistics-based positioning algorithm. We report results for both 6 mm and 8 mm thick crystals. Three channel reduction schemes are explored. The simplest scheme is row and column summing (R-C sum) of the photomultiplier tube channels. The second method is to only use channels with signals above a 1% threshold of the total signal (1% thres). The third method is to acquire a subset of PMT channels determined by the maximum signal channel (zone mask). The full width at half maximum (FWHM) intrinsic spatial resolution results for the central and corner sections of the detector are presented for each of the methods. All methods except R-C sum performed well for the central section of the detector. The 1% thres and zone mask schemes showed significant improvement for the corner section of the 6 mm thick crystal. All methods using a single depth look-up table had difficulty in the corner region for the 8 mm thick crystal. We believe this is caused by depth dependent edge effects on the light response function. Initial results using a depth dependent look-up table show improved positioning performance.
 
Article
The HZETRN code has been developed over the past decade to evaluate the local radiation fields within sensitive materials on spacecraft in the space environment. Most of the more important nuclear and atomic processes are now modeled and evaluation within a complex spacecraft geometry with differing material components, including transition effects across boundaries of dissimilar materials, are included. The atomic/nuclear database and transport procedures have received limited validation in laboratory testing with high energy ion beams. The codes have been applied in design of the SAGE-III instrument resulting in material changes to control injurious neutron production, in the study of the Space Shuttle single event upsets, and in validation with space measurements (particle telescopes, tissue equivalent proportional counters, CR-39) on Shuttle and Mir. The present paper reviews the code development and presents recent results in laboratory and space flight validation.
 
Article
Partially collimated PET systems have less collimation than conventional 2-D systems and have been shown to offer count rate improvements over 2-D and 3-D systems. Despite this potential, previous efforts have not established image-based improvements with partial collimation and have not customized the reconstruction method for partially collimated data. This work presents an image reconstruction method tailored for partially collimated data. Simulated and measured sensitivity patterns are presented and provide a basis for modification of a fully 3-D reconstruction technique. The proposed method uses a measured normalization correction term to account for the unique sensitivity to true events. This work also proposes a modified scatter correction based on simulated data. Measured image quality data supports the use of the normalization correction term for true events, and suggests that the modified scatter correction is unnecessary.
 
Article
Collimation can improve both the spatial resolution and sampling properties compared to the same scanner without collimation. Spatial resolution improves because each original crystal can be conceptually split into two (i.e., a right and left half) by masking half the crystal with a high-density attenuator (e.g., tungsten); this reduces efficiency by 4x since both crystals comprising the line of response (LOR) are masked, but yields 4x as many resolution-enhanced (RE) LORs. All the new RE LORs can be measured by scanning with the collimator in different configurations.
 
Article
The design of an imaging system capable of detecting both high-energy γ-rays and optical wavelength photons is underway at the UCLA Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging. This system, which we call optical PET (OPET), will be capable of non-invasively and repeatedly imaging small animal models in vivo for the presence of PET and optical signals. In this study, we describe the physical principles behind the operation of the OPET imaging system and discuss the design concept for one of the detector modules. Additionally, we demonstrate the operation of an initial prototype detector module for simultaneous detection and imaging of annihilation radiation and single optical photons emanating from separate sources. These results indicate that the construction of an imaging system based on this detector technology is feasible.
 
Article
Positron emission tomography (PET) detectors based on continuous scintillation crystals can achieve very good performance and have a number of practical advantages compared to detectors based on a pixelated array of crystals. Our goal is to develop a thick continuous detector with high energy and spatial resolution, along with high γ-photon capture efficiency. We examine the performance of two crystal blocks: a 46 × 46 × 14 mm(3) and a 48 × 48 × 25 mm(3) block of LYSO (Lutetium Yttrium Orthosilicate). Using Maximum Likelihood (ML) positioning based upon the light response function (LRF) in the 14 mm thick crystal, we measure a spatial resolution of 3 mm in the central region of the crystal with degradation near the edges due to reflections off the crystal sides. We also show that we can match the spatial resolution achieved using a 14 mm thick crystal by using a 25 mm thick crystal with slots cut into the gamma entrance surface to narrow the LRF. We also find that we can improve the spatial resolution performance near the detector edges by reducing the reflectivity of the crystal sides, albeit with some loss in energy resolution.
 
Article
Spillover from adjacent significant accumulations of extra-cardiac activity decreases diagnostic accuracy of SPECT perfusion imaging in especially the inferior/septal cardiac region. One method of compensating for the spillover at some location outside of a structure is to estimate it as the counts blurred into this location when a template (3D model) of the structure undergoes simulated imaging followed by reconstruction. The objective of this study was to determine what impact uncorrected respiratory motion has on such spillover compensation of extra-cardiac activity in the right coronary artery (RCA) territory, and if it is possible to use manual segmentation to define the extra-cardiac activity template(s) used in spillover correction. Two separate MCAT phantoms (128(3) matrices) were simulated to represent the source and attenuation distributions of patients with and without respiratory motion. For each phantom the heart was modeled: 1) with a normal perfusion pattern and 2) with an RCA defect equal to 50% of the normal myocardium count level. After Monte Carlo simulation of 64 × 64 × 120 projections with appropriate noise, data were reconstructed using the rescaled block iterative (RBI) algorithm with 30 subsets and 5 iterations with compensation for attenuation, scatter and resolution. A 3D Gaussian post-filter with a sigma of 0.476 cm was used to suppress noise. Manual segmentation of the liver in filtered emission slices was used to create 3D binary templates. The true liver distribution (with and without respiratory motion included) was also used as binary templates. These templates were projected using a ray-driven projector simulating the imaging system with the exclusion of Compton scatter and reconstructed using the same protocol as for the emission data, excluding scatter compensation. Reconstructed templates were scaled using reconstructed emission count levels from the liver, and spillover subtracted outside the template. It was evident from the polar maps that the manually segmented template reconstructions were unable to remove all the spillover originating in the liver from the inferior wall. This was especially noticeable when a perfusion defect is present. Templates based on the true liver distribution appreciably improved spillover correction. Thus the emerging combined SPECT/CT technology may play a vital role in identifying and segmenting extra-cardiac structures more reliably thereby facilitating spillover correction. This study also indicates that compensation for respiratory motion might play an important role in spillover compensation.
 
Top-cited authors
Ronald Schrimpf
  • Vanderbilt University
Giovanni Santin
  • European Space Agency
S. Guatelli
  • University of Wollongong
Barbara Mascialino Sudmeier
Pablo G A Cirrone
  • INFN - Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare