Optimization of a LSO-Based Detector Module for Time-of-Flight PET

IEEE Trans Nucl Sci. 2010 Jun 1;57(3):1570-1576. doi: 10.1109/TNS.2010.2047266.


We have explored methods for optimizing the timing resolution of an LSO-based detector module for a single-ring, "demonstration" time-of-flight PET camera. By maximizing the area that couples the scintillator to the PMT and minimizing the average path length that the scintillation photons travel, a single detector timing resolution of 218 ps fwhm is measured, which is considerably better than the ~385 ps fwhm obtained by commercial LSO or LYSO TOF detector modules. We explored different surface treatments (saw-cut, mechanically polished, and chemically etched) and reflector materials (Teflon tape, ESR, Lumirror, Melinex, white epoxy, and white paint), and found that for our geometry, a chemically etched surface had 5% better timing resolution than the saw-cut or mechanically polished surfaces, and while there was little dependence on the timing resolution between the various reflectors, white paint and white epoxy were a few percent better. Adding co-dopants to LSO shortened the decay time from 40 ns to ~30 ns but maintained the same or higher total light output. This increased the initial photoelectron rate and so improved the timing resolution by 15%. Using photomultiplier tubes with higher quantum efficiency (blue sensitivity index of 13.5 rather than 12) improved the timing resolution by an additional 5%. By choosing the optimum surface treatment (chemically etched), reflector (white paint), LSO composition (co-doped), and PMT (13.5 blue sensitivity index), the coincidence timing resolution of our detector module was reduced from 309 ps to 220 ps fwhm.