On Compton Imaging
Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering-Nuclear Engineering
University of California, Berkeley
Professor Stanley G. Prussin, Co-Chair
Professor Kai Vetter, Co-Chair
Professor Jasmina Vujic
Professor Steven Conolly
The feasibility of producing an image of radioactivity distribution within a patient or confined region of space using information carried by the gamma-rays emitted from the source is investigated. The imaging approach makes use of parameters related to the gamma-rays which undergo Compton scattering within a detection system, it does not involve the use of pin-holes, and it employs gamma-rays of energy ranging from a few hundreds of keVs to MeVs. Energy range of the photons and absence of pin-holes aim to provide larger pool of radioisotopes and larger efficiency than other emission imaging modalities, such as single photon emission computed tomography and positron emission tomography, making it possible to investigate larger pool of functions and smaller radioactivity doses.
The observables available to produce the image are the gamma-ray position of interaction and energy deposition during Compton scattering within the detection systems. Image reconstruction methodologies such as backprojection and list-mode maximum likelihood expectation maximization algorithm are characterized and applied to produce images of simulated and experimental sources on the basis of the observed parameters.
Given the observables and image reconstruction methodologies, imaging systems based on minimizing the variation of the impulse response with position within the field of view are developed. The approach allows imaging of three-dimensional sources when an imaging system which provides full 4 &pi view of the object is used and imaging of two-dimensional sources when a single block-type detector which provides one view of the object is used.
Geometrical resolution of few millimeters is obtained at few centimeters from the detection system if employing gamma-rays of energy in the order of few hundreds of keVs and current state of the art semi-conductor detectors; At this level of resolution, detection efficiency is in the order of 10^-3 at few centimeters from the detector when a single block detector few centimeters in size is used. The resolution significantly improves with increasing energy of the photons and it degrades roughly linearly with increasing distance from the detector; Larger detection efficiency can be obtained at the expenses of resolution or via targeted configurations of the detector.
Results pave the way for image reconstruction of practical gamma-ray emitting sources.