In 2008, as a first step towards a novel flat panel microPET device the Nuclear Camera Team produced a new dual flat panel projection imaging device for mouse imaging. It consists of two flat panel detectors side-by-side with the ability to rapidly obtain projection image in mice on a portable device. This system is now operational and plans are being put in place to further develop devices that allow tomorgraphic imaging. In 2010 work began on leveraging the first device, code named MONICA for Mobile Nuclear Imaging Camera into a low cost projection microPET employing two parallel detectors (rather than side by side). The design incorporates coincidence scanning between the two plates but also the capability for depth of interaction (DOI) measurement allowing some tomographic abilities. Also in 2010 work began on adapting this device to a projection microPET MR compatible device. Testing is ongoing to determine the ability of new crystals to withstand the effects of a strong magnetic field. Development work carried out by the nucelar camera group and its (essential) collaborators is based on the notion of directed exploration where technological opportunities are examined at the research level but with a particular systems level goal in mind (A): Research areas in imaging system development: (B): current focused systems level development project: dual gamma camera planar projection imaging system for single photon, high-speed dynamic whole body bio-distribution studies in mice. To illustrate this parallelism, work is now underway in each of the areas shown in LaBr3 slab and NaI(Tl) pixelated detector modules and support electronics development (CIT-NIH/RIG);evaluation of a new, modular DAQ system (Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLAB), Newport News, VA/RIG);creation of a high speed data processing interface using both centroid event positioning and advanced Maximum Likelihood (ML) positioning (RIG/CIT);and evaluation of a commercial system (Nuclear Mac) for image display and analysis (RIG/CIT). Each of these sub-system projects are evaluated in light of the current systems level goal of creating a dual planar gamma camera device for imaging mice while at the same time providing information in each technical area for potential use in our next systems level development project. For example, one of the detector modules will be comprised of a rectangular pixelated NaI(Tl) array coupled to two side-by-side Hamamatsu H8500 position-sensitive photomultiplier tubes Initial imaging results obtained with this combination required full use of the JLAB DAQ, CIT developed electronics and RIG-developed data processing software for acquisition and analysis of these data. Thus, considerable progress is being made in the development of novel microSPECT and microPET cameras that could result in much less costly imaging cameras in the future. Moreover, because of their larger coverage, the sensitivity for such devices might be considerably higher leading to the possibility of detecting disease with ever greater sensitivity. Clearly improved camera design could have a significant impact on molecular imaging research in the future. Figure 2. (A): NaI(Tl) detector module and supporting electronics (CIT/RIG);(B): early 511 keV field flood image from this 19 x 42 (43mm x 94 mm) pixel module. Note clear identification of the 2 mm x 2 mm pixels in the gap between the two side-by-side PSPMTs. A custom collimator has been designed for this array where each pixel has its own individual collimator hole. We plan to continue this exploratory work with the goal of turning over the completed dual gamma camera system to MIP scientists , followed by a review of accrued technical findings and designation of the next systems level project.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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