Development and evaluation of an EMCCD based gamma camera for preclinical SPECT imaging

Todd C. Soesbe, Matthew A. Lewis, Edmond Richer, Nikolai V. Slavine, Peter P. Antich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The electron-multiplying charge-coupled device (EMCCD) offers improved quantum efficiencies (40 to 95%) over a broader range of wavelengths (400 to 900 nm) and a higher intrinsic resolution (<100 μm using photon counting) when compared to photomultiplier tubes. The electron gain achieved in the multiplication register of an EMCCD effectively reduces the readout noise to less than 1 electron/pixel, making them sensitive to single photoelectrons. Our prototype camera uses the Texas Instruments Impactron™ EMCCD model TC253SPD-B0 (7.4 μm square pixels) which is cooled under vacuum to -50°C using a four stage Peltier and liquid heat exchanger. Shuttered lens-coupling is used to image the optical light from a 3 mm thick monolithic CsI(Tl) crystal. Precise clocking for the EMCCD is provided by a National Instruments FPGA controller (PCI-7811R) and LabVIEW FPGA module (version 8.0). A custom built electronics box contains the clock driver circuitry and 16-bit video board for digital conversion of the video signal. Our optical coupling method differs from other EMCCD SPECT systems by using lenses rather than fiber optic bundles for transfer. TC253 characterization tests measured a maximum gain just over 1000 ×, dark current rate of 0.14 e/p/s, read noise of 18.2 e/p, and spurious charge generation of 4 e/p. A light integration intrinsic resolution of 110 μm FWHM was measured. Light integration images of a line phantom using a single pinhole collimator were used for SPECT reconstruction. We found the relative high spurious charge generation and low quantum efficiency of the TC253 made it incapable of photon counting for low energy sources using lens coupling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1516-1524
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Gamma camera
  • High-resolution
  • High-sensitivity
  • Pinhole collimator
  • Preclinical
  • Small animal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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