Use of internal scintillator radioactivity to calibrate DOI function of a PET detector with a dual-ended-scintillator readout

Chad Bircher, Yiping Shao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose: Positron emission tomography (PET) detectors that use a dual-ended-scintillator readout to measure depth-of-interaction (DOI) must have an accurate DOI function to provide the relationship between DOI and signal ratios to be used for detector calibration and recalibration. In a previous study, the authors used a novel and simple method to accurately and quickly measure DOI function by irradiating the detector with an external uniform flood source; however, as a practical concern, implementing external uniform flood sources in an assembled PET system is technically challenging and expensive. In the current study, therefore, the authors investigated whether the same method could be used to acquire DOI function from scintillator-generated (i.e., internal) radiation. The authors also developed a method for calibrating the energy scale necessary to select the events within the desired energy window. Methods: The authors measured the DOI function of a PET detector with lutetium yttrium orthosilicate (LYSO) scintillators. Radiation events originating from the scintillators' internal Lu-176 beta decay were used to measure DOI functions which were then compared with those measured from both an external uniform flood source and an electronically collimated external point source. The authors conducted these studies with several scintillators of differing geometries (1.5 1.5 and 2.0 2.0 mm2 cross-section area and 20, 30, and 40 mm length) and various surface finishes (mirror-finishing, saw-cut rough, and other finishes in between), and in a prototype array. Results: All measured results using internal and external radiation sources showed excellent agreement in DOI function measurement. The mean difference among DOI values for all scintillators measured from internal and external radiation sources was less than 1.0 mm for different scintillator geometries and various surface finishes. Conclusions: The internal radioactivity of LYSO scintillators can be used to accurately measure DOI function in PET detectors, regardless of scintillator geometry or surface finish. Because an external radiation source is not needed, this method of DOI function measurement can be practically applied to individual PET detectors as well as assembled systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-787
Number of pages11
JournalMedical physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • depth of interaction
  • detector
  • internal scintillator radioactivity
  • positron emission tomography
  • solid-state photomultiplier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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