SU-C-201-03: Coded Aperture Gamma-Ray Imaging Using Pixelated Semiconductor Detectors




Improved localization of gamma-ray emissions from radiotracers is essential to the progress of nuclear medicine. Polaris is a portable, room-temperature operated gamma-ray imaging spectrometer composed of two 3×3 arrays of thick CdZnTe (CZT) detectors, which detect gammas between 30keV and 3MeV with energy resolution of <1% FWHM at 662keV. Compton imaging is used to map out source distributions in 4-pi space; however, is only effective above 300keV where Compton scatter is dominant. This work extends imaging to photoelectric energies (<300keV) using coded aperture imaging (CAI), which is essential for localization of Tc-99m (140keV).


CAI, similar to the pinhole camera, relies on an attenuating mask, with open/closed elements, placed between the source and position-sensitive detectors. Partial attenuation of the source results in a “shadow” or count distribution that closely matches a portion of the mask pattern. Ideally, each source direction corresponds to a unique count distribution. Using backprojection reconstruction, the source direction is determined within the field of view. The knowledge of 3D position of interaction results in improved image quality.


Using a single array of detectors, a coded aperture mask, and multiple Co-57 (122keV) point sources, image reconstruction is performed in real-time, on an event-by-event basis, resulting in images with an angular resolution of ∼6 degrees. Although material nonuniformities contribute to image degradation, the superposition of images from individual detectors results in improved SNR. CAI was integrated with Compton imaging for a seamless transition between energy regimes.


For the first time, CAI has been applied to thick, 3D position sensitive CZT detectors. Real-time, combined CAI and Compton imaging is performed using two 3×3 detector arrays, resulting in a source distribution in space. This system has been commercialized by H3D, Inc. and is being acquired for various applications worldwide, including proton therapy imaging R&D.