Monolithic scintillators read out by arrays of photodetectors represent a promising solution to obtain high spatial resolution and the depth of interaction (DOI) of the annihilation photon. We have recently investigated a detector geometry composed of a monolithic scintillator readout on two sides by silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) arrays, and we have proposed two parameters for the DOI determination: the difference in the number of triggered SiPMs on the two sides of the detector and the difference in the maximum collected signal on a single SiPM on each side. This work is focused on the DOI calibration and on the determination of the capability of our detector. For the DOI calibration, we studied a method which can be implemented also in detectors mounted in a full PET scanner. We used a PET detector module composed of a monolithic 20 × 20 × 10 mm3 LYSO scintillator crystal coupled on two opposite faces to two arrays of SiPMs. On each side, the scintillator was coupled to 6 × 6 SiPMs. In this paper, the two parameters previously proposed for the DOI determination were calibrated with two different methods. The first used a lateral scan of the detector with a collimated 511 keV pencil beam at steps of 0.5 mm to study the detector DOI capability, while the second used the background radiation of the 176Lu in the scintillator. The DOI determination capability was tested on different regions of the detector using each parameter and the combination of the two.Results
With both parameters for the DOI determination, in the lateral scan, the bias between the mean reconstructed DOI and the real beam position was lower than 0.3 mm, and the DOI distribution had a standard deviation of about 1.5 mm. When using the calibration with the radioactivity of the LYSO, the mean bias increased of about 0.2 mm but with no degradation of the standard deviation of the DOI distribution.Conclusions
The two parameters allow to achieve a DOI resolution comparable with the state of the art, giving a continuous information about the three-dimensional interaction position of the scintillation. These results were obtained by using simple estimators and a detector scalable to a whole PET system. The DOI calibration obtained using lutetium natural radioactivity gives results comparable to the other standard method but appears more readily applicable to detectors mounted in a full PET scanner.
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