Advanced optical simulation of scintillation detectors in GATE V8.0: First implementation of a reflectance model based on measured data

Mariele Stockhoff, Sebastien Jan, Albertine Dubois, Simon R Cherry, Emilie Roncali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Typical PET detectors are composed of a scintillator coupled to a photodetector that detects scintillation photons produced when high energy gamma photons interact with the crystal. A critical performance factor is the collection efficiency of these scintillation photons, which can be optimized through simulation. Accurate modelling of photon interactions with crystal surfaces is essential in optical simulations, but the existing UNIFIED model in GATE is often inaccurate, especially for rough surfaces. Previously a new approach for modelling surface reflections based on measured surfaces was validated using custom Monte Carlo code. In this work, the LUT Davis model is implemented and validated in GATE and GEANT4, and is made accessible for all users in the nuclear imaging research community. Look-up-tables (LUTs) from various crystal surfaces are calculated based on measured surfaces obtained by atomic force microscopy. The LUTs include photon reflection probabilities and directions depending on incidence angle. We provide LUTs for rough and polished surfaces with different reflectors and coupling media. Validation parameters include light output measured at different depths of interaction in the crystal and photon track lengths, as both parameters are strongly dependent on reflector characteristics and distinguish between models. Results from the GATE/GEANT4 beta version are compared to those from our custom code and experimental data, as well as the UNIFIED model. GATE simulations with the LUT Davis model show average variations in light output of <2% from the custom code and excellent agreement for track lengths with R 2 > 0.99. Experimental data agree within 9% for relative light output. The new model also simplifies surface definition, as no complex input parameters are needed. The LUT Davis model makes optical simulations for nuclear imaging detectors much more precise, especially for studies with rough crystal surfaces. It will be available in GATE V8.0.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L1-L8
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - May 26 2017


  • diagnostic imaging
  • GATE
  • GEANT4
  • light transport model
  • Monte Carlo optical simulation
  • Scintillation detectors
  • surface fnish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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