Characterization of a double-sided silicon strip detector autoradiography system




The most commonly used technology currently used for autoradiography is storage phosphor screens, which has many benefits such as a large field of view but lacks particle-counting detection of the time and energy of each detected radionuclide decay. A number of alternative designs, using either solid state or scintillator detectors, have been developed to address these issues. The aim of this study is to characterize the imaging performance of one such instrument, a double-sided silicon strip detector (DSSD) system for digital autoradiography. A novel aspect of this work is that the instrument, in contrast to previous prototype systems using the same detector type, provides the ability for user accessible imaging with higher throughput. Studies were performed to compare its spatial resolution to that of storage phosphor screens and test the implementation of multiradionuclide ex vivo imaging in a mouse preclinical animal study.


Detector background counts were determined by measuring a nonradioactive sample slide for 52 h. Energy spectra and detection efficiency were measured for seven commonly used radionuclides under representative conditions for tissue imaging. System dead time was measured by imaging 18F samples of at least 5 kBq and studying the changes in count rate over time. A line source of 58Co was manufactured by irradiating a 10 μm nickel wire with fast neutrons in a research reactor. Samples of this wire were imaged in both the DSSD and storage phosphor screen systems and the full width at half maximum (FWHM) measured for the line profiles. Multiradionuclide imaging was employed in a two animal study to examine the intratumoral distribution of a 125I-labeled monoclonal antibody and a 131I-labeled engineered fragment (diabody) injected in the same mouse, both targeting carcinoembryonic antigen.


Detector background was 1.81 × 10−6 counts per second per 50 × 50 μm pixel. Energy spectra and detection efficiency were successfully measured for seven radionuclides. The system dead time was measured to be 59 μs, and FWHM for a 58Co line source was 154 ± 14 μm for the DSSD system and 343 ± 15 μm for the storage phosphor system. Separation of the contributions from 125I and 131I was performed on autoradiography images of tumor sections.


This study has shown that a DSSD system can be beneficially applied for digital autoradiography with simultaneous multiradionuclide imaging capability. The system has a low background signal, ability to image both low and high activity samples, and a good energy resolution.