This work reports on the development and performance evaluation of the VrPET/CT, a new multimodality scanner with coplanar geometry for in vivo rodent imaging. The scanner design is based on a partial-ring PET system and a small-animal CT assembled on a rotatory gantry without axial displacement between the geometric centers of both fields of view (FOV). We report on the PET system performance based on the NEMA NU-4 protocol; the performance characteristics of the CT component are not included herein. The accuracy of inter-modality alignment and the imaging capability of the whole system are also evaluated on phantom and animal studies. Tangential spatial resolution of PET images ranged between 1.56 mm at the center of the FOV and 2.46 at a radial offset of 3.5 cm. The radial resolution varies from 1.48 mm to 1.88 mm, and the axial resolution from 2.34 mm to 3.38 mm for the same positions. The energy resolution was 16.5% on average for the entire system. The absolute coincidence sensitivity is 2.2% for a 100-700 keV energy window with a 3.8 ns coincident window. The scatter fraction values for the same settings were 11.45% for a mouse-sized phantom and 23.26% for a rat-sized phantom. The peak noise equivalent count rates were also evaluated for those phantoms obtaining 70.8 kcps at 0.66 MBq/cc and 31.5 kcps at 0.11 MBq/cc, respectively. The accuracy of inter-modality alignment is below half the PET resolution, and the image quality of biological specimens agrees with measured performance parameters. The assessment presented in this study shows that the VrPET/CT system is a good performance small-animal imager, while the cost derived from a partial ring detection system is substantially reduced as compared with a full-ring PET tomograph.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging