An integrated model of scintillator-reflector properties for advanced simulations of optical transport

Emilie Roncali, Mariele Stockhoff, Simon R Cherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Accurately modeling the light transport in scintillation detectors is essential to design new detectors for nuclear medicine or high energy physics. Optical models implemented in software such as Geant4 and GATE suffer from important limitations that we addressed by implementing a new approach in which the crystal reflectance was computed from 3D surface measurements. The reflectance was saved in a look-up-table (LUT) then used in Monte Carlo simulation to determine the fate of optical photons. Our previous work using this approach demonstrated excellent agreement with experimental characterization of crystal light output in a limited configuration, i.e. when using no reflector. As scintillators are generally encapsulated in a reflector, it is essential to include the crystal-reflector interface in the LUT. Here we develop a new LUT computation and apply it to several reflector types. A second LUT that contains transmittance data is also saved to enable modeling of optical crosstalk. LUTs have been computed for rough and polished crystals coupled to a Lambertian (e.g. Teflon tape) or a specular reflector (e.g. ESR) using air or optical grease, and the light output was computed using a custom Monte Carlo code. 3 × 3 × 20 mm3 lutetium oxyorthosilicate crystals were prepared using these combinations, and the light output was measured experimentally at different irradiation depths. For all reflector and surface finish combinations, the measured and simulated light output showed very good agreement. The behavior of optical photons at the interface crystal-reflector was studied using these simulations, and results highlighted the large difference in optical properties between rough and polished crystals, and Lambertian and specular reflectors. These simulations also showed how the travel path of individual scintillation photons was affected by the reflector and surface finish. The ultimate goal of this work is to implement this model in Geant4 and GATE, and provide a database of scintillators combined with a variety of reflectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4811-4830
Number of pages20
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - May 18 2017


  • diagnostic imaging
  • GATE
  • Geant4
  • light transport
  • optical Monte Carlo
  • Scintillation detectors
  • surface fnish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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