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Recent advances in PET designs have shown that a gain in signal-to-noise ratio can be expected by incorporating time-of-flight data in positron emission tomography over the conventional PET mode. It has also been shown that cesium fluoride (CsF) offers the potential of faster timing and high detection efficiency which would be required for a clinical scanner utilizing time-of-flight information. Our research with CsF and the results of a feasibility study of time-off-light positron emission tomography reconstruction have shown that, indeed, a significant improvement in image quality results from such an approach and that coincidence resolving times of less than 500 psec FWHM are easily achievable with CsF detectors. However, the design of fast tomographic systems with multiple detectors which maintain this fast coincidence timing poses a challenging technical problem. The solution to this problem requires a departure from the conventional mode of PET designs to a fast on-line microprocessor based system which is capable of compressing and correcting the data for timing differences, normalization and image function. Such a system is described in this paper and its advantages and disadvantages are discussed.
Date of Publication: Feb. 1981