Objective: To present a prototype tri-modal imaging system, consisting of a single photon emission computed tomography (SPET), a positron emission tomography (PET), and a computed tomography (CT) subsystem, evaluated in planar mode.
Materials and methods: The subsystems are mounted on a rotating gantry, so as to be able to allow tomographic imaging in the future. The system, designed and constructed by our group, allows whole body mouse imaging of competent performance and is currently, to the best of our knowledge, unequaled in a national and regional level. The SPET camera is based on two Position Sensitive Photomultiplier Tubes (PSPMT), coupled to a pixilated Sodium Iodide activated with Thallium (NaI(Tl)) scintillator, having an active area of 5x10cm2. The dual head PET camera is also based on two pairs of PSPMT, coupled to pixelated berillium germanium oxide (BGO) scintillators, having an active area of 5x10cm2. The X-rays system consists of a micro focus X-rays tube and a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) detector, having an active area of 12x12cm2.
Results: The scintigraphic mode has a spatial resolution of 1.88mm full width at half maximum (FWHM) and a sensitivity of 107.5cpm/0.037MBq at the collimator surface. The coincidence PET mode has an average spatial resolution of 3.5mm (FWHM) and a peak sensitivity of 29.9cpm/0.037MBq. The X-rays spatial resolution is 3.5lp/mm and the contrast discrimination function value is lower than 2%.
Conclusion: A compact tri-modal system was successfully built and evaluated for planar mode operation. The system has an efficient performance, allowing accurate and informative anatomical and functional imaging, as well as semi-quantitative results. Compared to other available systems, it provides a moderate but comparable performance, at a fraction of the cost and complexity. It is fully open, scalable and its main purpose is to support groups on a national and regional level and provide an open technological platform to study different detector components and acquisition strategies.