Collection of Scintillation Light from Small BGO Crystals

Simon R. Cherry, Yiping Shao, Martin P. Tornai, Stefan Siegel, Anthony R. Ricci, Michael E. Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We propose to develop a high resolution positron emission tomography (PET) detector designed for animal imaging. The detector consists of a 2-D array of small bismuth germanate (BGO) crystals coupled via optical fibers to a multi-channel photomultiplier tube (MC-PMT). Though this approach offers several advantages over the conventional BGO block design, it does require that a sufficient number of scintillation photons be transported from the crystal, down the fiber and into the PMT. In this study we use simulations and experimental data to determine how to maximize the signal reaching the PMT. This involves investigating factors such as crystal geometry, crystal surface treatment, the use of reflectors, choice of optical fiber, coupling of crystal to the optical fiber and optical fiber properties. Our results indicate that using 2 x 2 x 10 mm BGO crystals coupled to 30 cm of clad optical fiber, roughly 50 photoelectrons are produced at the PMT photocathode for a 511 keV interaction. This is sufficient to clearly visualize the photopeak and provide adequate timing resolution for PET. Based on these encouraging results, a prototype detector will now be constructed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1058-1063
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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