Data Processing for a High Resolution Preclinical PET Detector Based on Philips DPC Digital SiPMs

Data Processing for a High Resolution Preclinical PET Detector Based on Philips DPC Digital SiPMs In positron emission tomography (PET) systems, light sharing techniques are commonly used to readout scintillator arrays consisting of scintillation elements, which are smaller than the optical sensors. The scintillating element is then identified evaluating the signal heights in the readout channels using statistical algorithms, the center of gravity (COG) algorithm being the simplest and mostly used one. We propose a COG algorithm with a fixed number of input channels in order to guarantee a stable calculation of the position. The algorithm is implemented and tested with the raw detector data obtained with the Hyperion-II D preclinical PET insert which uses Philips Digital Photon Counting’s (PDPC) digitial SiPMs. The gamma detectors use LYSO scintillator arrays with 30 ×30 crystals of 1 ×1 ×12 mm3 in size coupled to 4 ×4 PDPC DPC 3200-22 sensors (DPC) via a 2-mm-thick light guide. These self-triggering sensors are made up of 2 ×2 pixels resulting in a total of 64 readout channels. We restrict the COG calculation to a main pixel, which captures most of the scintillation light from a crystal, and its (direct and diagonal) neighboring pixels and reject single events in which this data is not fully available.

This results in stable COG positions for a crystal element and enables high spatial image resolution. Due to the sensor layout, for some crystals it is very likely that a single diagonal neighbor pixel is missing as a result of the low light level on the corresponding DPC. This leads to a loss of sensitivity, if these events are rejected. An enhancement of the COG algorithm is proposed which handles the potentially missing pixel separately both for the crystal identification and the energy calculation. Using this advancement, we show that the sensitivity of the Hyperion-II D insert using the described scintillator configuration can be improved by 20-100% for practical useful readout thresh- lds of a single DPC pixel ranging from 17-52 photons. Furthermore, we show that the energy resolution of the scanner is superior for all readout thresholds if singles with a single missing pixel are accepted and correctly handled compared to the COG method only accepting singles with all neighbors present by 0-1.6% (relative difference). The presented methods can not only be applied to gamma detectors employing DPC sensors, but can be generalized to other similarly structured and self-triggering detectors, using light sharing techniques, as well.