University of Sussex
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Particle physics methodologies applied to time-of-flight positron emission tomography with silicon-photomultipliers and inorganic scintillators

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posted on 2023-06-08, 21:04 authored by Edward J Leming
Positron emission tomography, or PET, is a medical imaging technique which has been used in clinical environments for over two decades. With the advent of fast timing detectors and scintillating crystals, it is possible to envisage improvements to the technique with the inclusion of time-of-flight capabilities. In this context, silicon photomultipliers coupled to fast inorganic LYSO crystals are investigated as a possible technology choice. As part of the ENVISION collaboration a range of photon detectors were investigated experimentally, leading to the selection of specific devices for use in a first prototype detector, currently being commissioned at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. In order to characterise the design of the prototype a GEANT4 simulation has been developed describing coupled systems of silicon photomultipliers and LYSO scintillators. Very good agreement is seen between the timing response of the experimental and simulated systems. Results of the simulation for a range of detector array arrangements are presented and a number of optimisations proposed for the final prototype design. Without the results provided here a detector system including only 3x3x5 mm3 crystals would have been adopted. A 3x3x5 mm3 crystal geometry is shown to provide little-to-no timing advantage over an identical system with 3x3x10 mm3 crystals, where detection efficiency is improved by approximately a factor of three. Additionally an investigation is presented which explores the impact of using events where gamma-ray photons are scattered internally within the detector array. It is shown that including such events could increase the signal achievable with one-to-one coupled detector arrays systems for PET by approximately 60%, with only minor reductions in coincidence timing resolution.


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