Investigation of a clinical PET detector module design that employs large-area avalanche photodetectors
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We investigated the feasibility of designing an Anger-logic PET detector module using large-area high-gain avalanche photodiodes (APDs) for a brain-dedicated PET/MRI system. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we systematically optimized the detector design with regard to the scintillation crystal, optical diffuser, surface treatment, layout of large-area APDs, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR, defined as the 511 keV photopeak position divided by the standard deviation of noise floor in an energy spectrum) of the APD devices. A detector prototype was built comprising an 8 × 8 array of 2.75 × 3.00 × 20.0 mm3 LYSO (lutetium-yttrium-oxyorthosilicate) crystals and a 22.0 × 24.0 × 9.0 mm3 optical diffuser. From the four designs of the optical diffuser tested, two designs employing a slotted diffuser are able to resolve all 64 crystals within the block with good uniformity and peak-to-valley ratio. Good agreement was found between the simulation and experimental results. For the detector employing a slotted optical diffuser, the energy resolution of the global energy spectrum after normalization is 13.4 ± 0.4%. The energy resolution of individual crystals varies between 11.3 ± 0.3% and 17.3 ± 0.4%. The time resolution varies between 4.85 ± 0.04 (center crystal), 5.17 ± 0.06 (edge crystal), and 5.18 ± 0.07 ns (corner crystal). The generalized framework proposed in this work helps to guide the design of detector modules for selected PET system configurations, including scaling the design down to a preclinical PET system, scaling up to a whole-body clinical scanner, as well as replacing APDs with other novel photodetectors that have higher gain or SNR such as silicon photomultipliers.
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