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Estimating Image Quality for Future Generations of TOF PET Scanners

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3 Author(s)
Conti, M. ; Mol. Imaging, Siemens Healthcare, Knoxville, TN, USA ; Eriksson, L. ; Westerwoudt, V.

Images taken with time-of-flight (TOF) positron emission tomography (PET) scanners are of improved quality compared to equivalent non-TOF images. This improvement is dependent on the scanner time resolution. The present generation of commercial TOF scanners has a time resolution in the range of 500-600 ps full width half maximum. In this work we investigate how the image characteristics will improve for future generations of TOF PET. We performed a Geant4 simulation of a 30-cm uniform cylinder containing hot spheres, with time resolution ranging from 600 to 200 ps. Data were reconstructed using TOF filtered back projection (FBP) and TOF ordered subsets expectation maximization (OSEM), with nonTOF reconstruction as a reference. Images were compared in terms of contrast recovery and variance in the image. The TOF gain was evaluated for both reconstruction methods. The TOF gain was also evaluated vs. counts in the scan, in order to understand the behavior of such gain at very low statistics. Using TOF FBP, it was shown that the TOF gain can be used as a sensitivity amplifier, reducing (according to the expected TOF gain) the number of counts necessary to produce an image of the same characteristics. Some limitations in the TOF gain were observed at very low counts, particularly if using iterative methods.

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Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:60 ,  Issue: 1 )