Machine Learning in PET: From Photon Detection to Quantitative Image Reconstruction

Kuang Gong, Eric Berg, Simon R. Cherry, Jinyi Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Machine learning has found unique applications in nuclear medicine from photon detection to quantitative image reconstruction. Although there have been impressive strides in detector development for time-of-flight positron emission tomography (PET), most detectors still make use of simple signal processing methods to extract the time and position information from the detector signals. Now, with the availability of fast waveform digitizers, machine learning techniques have been applied to estimate the position and arrival time of high-energy photons. In quantitative image reconstruction, machine learning has been used to estimate various corrections factors, including scattered events and attenuation images, as well as to reduce statistical noise in reconstructed images. Here, machine learning either provides a faster alternative to an existing time-consuming computation, such as in the case of scatter estimation, or creates a data-driven approach to map an implicitly defined function, such as in the case of estimating the attenuation map for PET/MR scans. In this article, we will review the above-mentioned applications of machine learning in nuclear medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8844693
Pages (from-to)51-68
Number of pages18
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Attenuation correction
  • deep learning
  • denoising
  • image reconstruction
  • machine learning
  • positron emission tomography (PET)
  • scatter correction
  • timing resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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