Investigation of time-of-flight benefit for fully 3-D PET

IEEE Trans Med Imaging. 2006 May;25(5):529-38. doi: 10.1109/TMI.2006.871419.


The purpose of this paper is to determine the benefit that can be achieved in image quality for a time-of-flight (TOF) fully three-dimensional (3-D) whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. We simulate a 3-D whole-body time-of-flight PET scanner with a complete modeling of spatial and energy resolutions. The scanner is based on LaBr3 Anger-logic detectors with which 300ps timing resolution has been achieved. Multiple simulations were performed for 70-cm long uniform cylinders with 27-cm and 35-cm diameters, containing hot spheres (22, 17, 13, and 10-mm diameter) in a central slice and 10-mm diameter hot spheres in a slice at 1/4 axial FOV. Image reconstruction was performed with a list-mode iterative TOF algorithm and data were analyzed after attenuation and scatter corrections for timing resolutions of 300, 600, 1000 ps and non-TOF for varying count levels. The results show that contrast recovery improves slightly with TOF (NEMA NU2-2001 analysis), and improved timing resolution leads to a faster convergence to the maximum contrast value. Detectability for 10-mm diameter hot spheres estimated using a nonprewhitening matched filter (NPW SNR) also improves nonlinearly with TOF. The gain in image quality using contrast and noise measures is proportional to the object diameter and inversely proportional to the timing resolution of the scanner. The gains in NPW SNR are smaller, but they also increase with increasing object diameter and improved timing resolution. The results show that scan times can be reduced in a TOF scanner to achieve images similar to those from a non-TOF scanner, or improved image quality achieved for same scan times.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / methods
  • Models, Biological
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / instrumentation
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Whole Body Imaging / methods*