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 noninvasively 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.