A whole-body 3-dimensional PET scanner using gadolinium oxyorthosilicate (GSO) crystals has been designed to achieve high sensitivity and reduced patient scanning time. This scanner has a diameter of 82.0 cm and an axial field of view of 18 cm without interplane septa. The detector comprises of 4 x 6 x 20 mm(3) GSO crystals coupled via an optically continuous light guide to an array of 420 photomultiplier tubes (39-mm diameter) in a hexagonal arrangement. The patient port diameter is 56 cm, and 2.86-cm (1.125 in.) thick lead shielding is used to fill in the region up to the detector ring.
Methods: Performance measurements on the scanner were made using the National Electrical Manufactures Association (NEMA) NU 2-2001 procedures. Additional counting rate measurements with a large phantom were performed to evaluate imaging characteristics for heavier patients. The image-quality torso phantom with hot or cold spheres was also measured as a function of counting rate to evaluate different techniques for randoms and scatter subtraction as well as to determine an optimum imaging time.
Results: The transverse and axial resolutions near the center are 5.5 and 5.6 mm, respectively. The absolute sensitivity of this scanner measured with a 70-cm-long line source is 4.36 cps/kBq, whereas the scatter fraction is 40% with a 20 x 70 cm line source cylinder. For the same cylinder, the peak noise equivalent count (NEC) rate of 30 kcps at an activity concentration of 9.25 kBq/mL (0.25 micro Ci/mL) leads to a 7% increase in the peak NEC value. A significant reduction in the peak NEC is observed with a larger 35 x 70 cm line source cylinder. Image-quality measurements show that the small 10-mm sphere in the NEMA NU 2-2001 image-quality phantom is clearly visible in a scan time of 3 min, and there is no noticeable degradation in image contrast at high activity levels.
Conclusion: This whole-body scanner represents a new generation of 3D, high-sensitivity, and high-performance PET cameras capable of producing high-quality images in <30 min for a full patient scan. The use of a pixelated GSO Anger-logic detector leads to a high-sensitivity scanner design with good counting rate capability due to the reduced light spread in the detector and fast decay time of GSO. The light collection over the detector is fairly uniform, leading to a good energy resolution and, thus, reduced scatter in the collected data due to a tight energy gate.