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Increased focus towards improved detector spatial resolution in PET has led to the use of smaller crystals in some form of light sharing detector design. In this work we evaluate two sampling techniques that can be applied during calibrations for pixelated detector designs in order to improve the reconstructed spatial resolution. The inter-crystal positioning technique utilizes sub-sampling in the crystal flood map to better sample the Compton scatter events in the detector. The Compton scatter rejection technique, on the other hand, rejects those events that are located further from individual crystal centers in the flood map. We performed Monte Carlo simulations followed by measurements on two whole-body scanners for point source data. The simulations and measurements were performed for scanners using scintillators with Zeff ranging from 46.9 to 63 for LaBr3 and LYSO, respectively. Our results show that near the center of the scanner, inter-crystal positioning technique leads to a gain of about 0.5-mm in reconstructed spatial resolution (FWHM) for both scanner designs. In a small animal LYSO scanner the resolution improves from 1.9-mm to 1.6-mm with the inter-crystal technique. The Compton scatter rejection technique shows higher gains in spatial resolution but at the cost of reduction in scanner sensitivity. The inter-crystal positioning technique represents a modest acquisition software modification for an improvement in spatial resolution, but at a cost of potentially longer data correction and reconstruction times. The Compton scatter rejection technique, while also requiring a modest acquisition software change with no increased data correction and reconstruction times, will be useful in applications where the scanner sensitivity is very high and larger improvements in spatial resolution are desirable.
Date of Publication: June 2009