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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Monte Carlo calculations of PET coincidence timing: single and double-ended readout.


We present Monte Carlo computational methods for estimating the coincidence resolving time (CRT) of scintillator detector pairs in positron emission tomography (PET) and present results for Lu2SiO5 : Ce (LSO), LaBr3 : Ce, and a hypothetical ultra-fast scintillator with a 1 ns decay time. The calculations were applied to both single-ended and double-ended photodetector readout with constant-fraction triggering. They explicitly include (1) the intrinsic scintillator properties (luminosity, rise time, decay time, and index of refraction), (2) the exponentially distributed depths of interaction, (3) the optical photon transport efficiency, delay, and time dispersion, (4) the photodetector properties (fill factor, quantum efficiency, transit time jitter, and single electron response), and (5) the determination of the constant fraction trigger level that minimizes the CRT. The calculations for single-ended readout include the delayed photons from the opposite reflective surface. The calculations for double-ended readout include (1) the simple average of the two photodetector trigger times, (2) more accurate estimators of the annihilation photon entrance time using the pulse height ratio to estimate the depth of interaction and correct for annihilation photon, optical photon, and trigger delays, and (3) the statistical lower bound for interactions at the center of the crystal. For time-of-flight (TOF) PET we combine stopping power and TOF information in a figure of merit equal to the sensitivity gain relative to whole-body non-TOF PET using LSO. For LSO crystals 3 mm  ×  3 mm  ×  30 mm, a decay time of 37 ns, a total photoelectron count of 4000, and a photodetector with 0.2 ns full-width at half-maximum (fwhm) timing jitter, single-ended readout has a CRT of 0.16 ns fwhm and double-ended readout has a CRT of 0.111 ns fwhm. For LaBr3 : Ce crystals 3 mm  ×  3 mm  ×  30 mm, a rise time of 0.2 ns, a decay time of 18 ns, and a total of 7600 photoelectrons the CRT numbers are 0.14 ns and 0.072 ns fwhm, respectively. For a hypothetical ultra-fast scintillator 3 mm  ×  3 mm  ×  30 mm, a decay time of 1 ns, and a total of 4000 photoelectrons, the CRT numbers are 0.070 and 0.020 ns fwhm, respectively. Over a range of examples, values for double-ended readout are about 10% larger than the statistical lower bound.

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