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A novel SPECT collimation method, termed the synthetic collimator, is proposed. The synthetic collimator employs a multiple-pinhole aperture and a high-resolution detector. The problem of multiplexing, normally associated with multiple pinholes, is reduced by obtaining projections at a number of pinhole-detector distances. Projections with little multiplexing are collected at small pinhole-detector distances and high-resolution projections are collected at greater pinhole-detector distances. These projections are then reconstructed using the ML-EM algorithm. It is demonstrated through computer simulations that the synthetic collimator has superior resolution properties to a high-resolution parallel-beam (HRPB) collimator and a specially built ultra-high-resolution parallel-beam (UHRPB) collimator designed for the authors' 0.38-mm pixel CdZnTe detectors. It is also shown that reconstructing images in three dimensions is superior to reconstructing them in two dimensions. The advantages of a high-resolution synthetic collimator over the parallel-hole collimators are apparently reduced in the presence of statistical noise. However, a high-sensitivity synthetic collimator was designed which again shows superior properties to the parallel-hole collimators. Finally, it is demonstrated that, for the cases studied, high-resolution detectors are necessary for the proper functionality of the synthetic collimator.