A prototype high-resolution Small-Animal PET scanner dedicated to mouse brain imaging

Yongfeng Yang, Julien Bec, Jian Zhou, Mengxi Zhang, Martin S. Judenhofer, Xiaowei Bai, Kun Di, Yibao Wu, Mercedes Rodriguez, Purushottam Dokhale, Kanai S. Shah, Richard Farrell, Jinyi Qi, Simon R Cherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


We developed a prototype small-animal PET scanner based on depth-encoding detectors using dual-ended readout of small scintillator elements to produce high and uniform spatial resolution suitable for imaging the mouse brain. Methods: The scanner consists of 16 tapered dual-ended-readout detectors arranged in a 61-mm-diameter ring. The axial field of view (FOV) is 7 mm, and the transaxial FOV is 30 mm. The scintillator arrays consist of 14 × 14 lutetium oxyorthosilicate elements, with a crystal size of 0.43 × 0.43 mm at the front end and 0.80 × 0.43 mm at the back end, and the crystal elements are 13 mm long. The arrays are read out by 8 × 8 mm and 13 × 8 mm position-sensitive avalanche photodiodes (PSAPDs) placed at opposite ends of the array. Standard nuclear-instrumentation-module electronics and a custom-designed multiplexer are used for signal processing. Results: The detector performance was measured, and all but the crystals at the very edge could be clearly resolved. The average intrinsic spatial resolution in the axial direction was 0.61 mm. A depth-of-interaction resolution of 1.7 mm was achieved. The sensitivity of the scanner at the center of the FOV was 1.02% for a lower energy threshold of 150 keV and 0.68% for a lower energy threshold of 250 keV. The spatial resolution within a FOV that can accommodate the entire mouse brain was approximately 0.6 mm using a 3-dimensional maximum-likelihood expectation maximization reconstruction. Images of a hot-rod microphantom showed that rods with a diameter of as low as 0.5 mm could be resolved. The first in vivo studies were performed using 18F-fluoride and confirmed that a 0.6-mm resolution can be achieved in the mouse head in vivo. Brain imaging studies with 18F-FDG were also performed. Conclusion: We developed a prototype PET scanner that can achieve a spatial resolution approaching the physical limits of a small-bore PET scanner set by positron range and detector interaction. We plan to add more detector rings to extend the axial FOV of the scanner and increase sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1130-1135
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Brain imaging
  • High resolution
  • Mouse
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Small animal PET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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