DOI: 10.1186/s40658-018-0229-4Pages: 1-17

Performance evaluation of a new high-sensitivity time-of-flight clinical PET/CT system

1. Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Department of Nuclear Medicine

2. SinoUnion (Beijing) Healthcare Technologies Co., Ltd

3. Tsinghua University, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Correspondence to:
Hui Zhang




PoleStar m660 is a newly developed clinical PET/CT system with time-of-flight (TOF) capability. The aim of this study is to characterize the performance of the new system. Spatial resolution, sensitivity, scatter fraction, and noise equivalent count rate (NECR) were measured on the scanner according to the NEMA NU 2-2012 protocol. The timing resolution was measured using a rotating line source that orbited around the center of field of view (CFOV) at a radius of 20 cm. The image quality phantom was also imaged to quantify the percent contrast, percent background variability, and residual error. The impacts of data acquisition time and bed overlap on the PET image quality were also evaluated using phantom and patient studies.


The transverse (axial) spatial resolutions were 3.59 mm (3.67), 4.08 mm (4.65), and 5.32 mm (6.48) full width at half maximum (FWHM) at 1 cm, 10 cm, and 20 cm, respectively, off the CFOV. The measured sensitivity was 10.7 cps/kBq at the CFOV and 10.4 cps/kBq at 10 cm off the CFOV. The peak NECR was 216.7 kcps at an activity concentration of 29.1 kBq/ml, and the scatter fraction was 38.2%. An average of 435 ps FWHM timing resolution was measured. For the image quality phantom, the contrast recovery ratios ranged from 33.9 to 76.4%, while the background variability ranged from 4.7 to 2.0%. In the preliminary clinical study, no noticeable difference in the image quality was observed when the scan time for the whole body and brain was reduced to 1 min/bed and 3 min, respectively. The tested 21% bed overlap showed no significant difference in the image quality compared with the default 38% bed overlap setting.


The physical performances of the PoleStar m660 PET/CT system showed good sensitivity, count rate performance, and timing resolution. The improved performance could help to reduce the acquisition time and bed overlap in the clinical application without detectable compromise in the image quality.

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  • Accepted: Aug 9, 2018
  • Online: Dec 1, 2018

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