Development and Validation of a Monte Carlo Simulation Tool for Multi-Pinhole SPECT
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PURPOSE: In this work, we developed and validated a Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) tool for investigation and evaluation of multi-pinhole (MPH) SPECT imaging. PROCEDURES: This tool was based on a combination of the SimSET and MCNP codes. Photon attenuation and scatter in the object, as well as penetration and scatter through the collimator detector, are modeled in this tool. It allows accurate and efficient simulation of MPH SPECT with focused pinhole apertures and user-specified photon energy, aperture material, and imaging geometry. The MCS method was validated by comparing the point response function (PRF), detection efficiency (DE), and image profiles obtained from point sources and phantom experiments. A prototype single-pinhole collimator and focused four- and five-pinhole collimators fitted on a small animal imager were used for the experimental validations. We have also compared computational speed among various simulation tools for MPH SPECT, including SimSET-MCNP, MCNP, SimSET-GATE, and GATE for simulating projections of a hot sphere phantom. RESULTS: We found good agreement between the MCS and experimental results for PRF, DE, and image profiles, indicating the validity of the simulation method. The relative computational speeds for SimSET-MCNP, MCNP, SimSET-GATE, and GATE are 1: 2.73: 3.54: 7.34, respectively, for 120-view simulations. We also demonstrated the application of this MCS tool in small animal imaging by generating a set of low-noise MPH projection data of a 3D digital mouse whole body phantom. CONCLUSIONS: The new method is useful for studying MPH collimator designs, data acquisition protocols, image reconstructions, and compensation techniques. It also has great potential to be applied for modeling the collimator-detector response with penetration and scatter effects for MPH in the quantitative reconstruction method.
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