Analysis of a convex time skew calibration for light sharing-based PET detectors

Phys Med Biol. 2023 Jan 9;68(2). doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/aca872.


Objective.Positron emission tomography (PET) detectors providing attractive coincidence time resolutions (CTRs) offer time-of-flight information, resulting in an improved signal-to-noise ratio of the PET image. In applications with photosensor arrays that employ timestampers for individual channels, timestamps typically are not time synchronized, introducing time skews due to different signal pathways. The scintillator topology and transportation of the scintillation light might provoke further skews. If not accounted for these effects, the achievable CTR deteriorates. We studied a convex timing calibration based on a matrix equation. In this work, we extended the calibration concept to arbitrary structures targeting different aspects of the time skews and focusing on optimizing the CTR performance for detector characterization. The radiation source distribution, the stability of the estimations, and the energy dependence of calibration data are subject to the analysis.Approach.A coincidence setup, equipped with a semi-monolithic detector comprising 8 LYSO slabs, each 3.9 mm × 31.9 mm × 19.0 mm, and a one-to-one coupled detector with 8 × 8 LYSO segments of 3.9 mm × 3.9 mm × 19.0 mm volume is used. Both scintillators utilize a dSiPM (DPC3200-22-44, Philips Digital Photon Counting) operated in first photon trigger. The calibration was also conducted with solely one-to-one coupled detectors and extrapolated for a slab-only setup.Main results.All analyzed hyperparameters show a strong influence on the calibration. Using multiple radiation positions improved the skew estimation. The statistical significance of the calibration dataset and the utilized energy window was of great importance. Compared to a one-to-one coupled detector pair achieving CTRs of 224 ps the slab detector configuration reached CTRs down to 222 ps, demonstrating that slabs can compete with a clinically used segmented detector design.Significance.This is the first work that systematically studies the influence of hyperparameters on skew estimation and proposes an extension to arbitrary calibration structures (e.g. scintillator volumes) of a known calibration technique.

Keywords: CTR; LYSO; PET; TOF; calibration; semi-monolithic; slabs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Photons*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography* / methods
  • Scintillation Counting / methods