The authors developed and validated an efficient Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) workflow to facilitate small animal pinhole SPECT imaging research. This workflow seamlessly integrates two existing MCS tools: simulation system for emission tomography (SimSET) and GEANT4 application for emission tomography (GATE). Specifically, we retained the strength of GATE in describing complex collimator/detector configurations to meet the anticipated needs for studying advanced pinhole collimation (e.g., multipinhole) geometry, while inserting the fast SimSET photon history generator (PHG) to circumvent the relatively slow GEANT4 MCS code used by GATE in simulating photon interactions inside voxelized phantoms. For validation, data generated from this new SimSET-GATE workflow were compared with those from GATE-only simulations as well as experimental measurements obtained using a commercial small animal pinhole SPECT system. Our results showed excellent agreement (e.g., in system point response functions and energy spectra) between SimSET-GATE and GATE-only simulations, and, more importantly, a significant computational speedup (up to ∼10 -fold) provided by the new workflow. Satisfactory agreement between MCS results and experimental data were also observed. In conclusion, the authors have successfully integrated SimSET photon history generator in GATE for fast and realistic pinhole SPECT simulations, which can facilitate research in, for example, the development and application of quantitative pinhole and multipinhole SPECT for small animal imaging. This integrated simulation tool can also be adapted for studying other preclinical and clinical SPECT techniques.
- Monte Carlo simulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging