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To address modern molecular imaging requirements, a digital positron emission tomography (PET) scanner for small animals has been developed at Universite de Sherbrooke. Based on individual readout of avalanche photodiodes (APD) coupled to LYSO/LGSO phoswich detectors, the scanner supports up to 4608 channels in a 16.2 cm diameter, 11.25 cm axial field of view with an isotropic ~ 1.2 mm FWHM intrinsic spatial resolution at the center of the field of view. Custom data acquisition boards preprocess and sample APD signals at 45 MHz and compute in real time crystal identification, energy and timing information of detected events at an average sustained rate of up to 1250 raw counts per second per mm2 (10 000 cps/channel). Real time digital signal analysis also filters out events outside the pre-selected energy window with crystal granularity to eliminate Compton events and electronic noise. Retained events are then merged into a single stream through a real-time sorting tree, at which end prompt and delayed coincidences are extracted. A single Firewire link handles both control and data transfers with a host computer. The LabPET features four data recording modes, giving the user the choice to retain data for research or to minimize file size for high coincidence count rate and imaging purposes. The electronic system also supports time synchronized data insertion for flags such as vital signs used in gated image reconstruction. Aside from data acquisition, hardware can generate live energy and discrimination spectra suitable for fast, automatic channel calibration.