Design and performance of a multi-pinhole collimation device for small animal imaging with clinical SPECT and SPECT-CT scanners

Phys Med Biol. 2008 Aug 7;53(15):4185-201. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/15/012. Epub 2008 Jul 17.


A multi-pinhole collimation device is developed that uses the gamma camera detectors of a clinical SPECT or SPECT-CT scanner to produce high-resolution SPECT images. The device consists of a rotating cylindrical collimator having 22 tungsten pinholes with 0.9 mm diameter apertures and an animal bed inside the collimator that moves linearly to provide helical or ordered-subsets axial sampling. CT images also may be acquired on a SPECT-CT scanner for purposes of image co-registration and SPECT attenuation correction. The device is placed on the patient table of the scanner without attaching to the detectors or scanner gantry. The system geometry is calibrated in-place from point source data and is then used during image reconstruction. The SPECT imaging performance of the device is evaluated with test phantom scans. Spatial resolution from reconstructed point source images is measured to be 0.6 mm full width at half maximum or better. Micro-Derenzo phantom images demonstrate the ability to resolve 0.7 mm diameter rod patterns. The axial slabs of a Micro-Defrise phantom are visualized well. Collimator efficiency exceeds 0.05% at the center of the field of view, and images of a uniform phantom show acceptable uniformity and minimal artifact. The overall simplicity and relatively good imaging performance of the device make it an interesting low-cost alternative to dedicated small animal scanners.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / instrumentation*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / instrumentation*