Development of simultaneous PET and Compton imaging using GAGG-SiPM based pixel detectors

Kenji Shimazoe, Masao Yoshino, Yusuke Ohshima, Mizuki Uenomachi, Kenichiro Oogane, Tadashi Orita, Hiroyuki Takahashi, Kei Kamada, Akira Yoshikawa, Miwako Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Positron emission tomography (PET) is considered an important and powerful tool for molecular imaging and medical diagnosis with its high sensitivity. Further, single-photon emission CT (SPECT) is another important imaging modality providing different types of information in medical diagnosis. On the other hand, Compton imaging is a promising technique for future molecular imaging with multi-nuclides based on Compton scattering kinetics. In this regard, previously, we have developed gadolinium aluminum gallium garnet (GAGG)-scintillation-based PET systems and GAGG-scintillation-based Compton imaging systems for environmental applications. Here, we propose and develop a novel PET–Compton hybrid simultaneous imager based on a two-layer structure using thin scatterers and thick absorbers for multi-nuclide imaging, for e.g., simultaneous imaging of PET and SPECT tracers such as 18F-FDG and 111In, respectively. For achieving good spatial resolution of the Compton imager, the energy resolution of the utilized scintillators forms one of the most important characteristics. In this regard, GAGG is a promising scintillator because of its high light yield of over 50000 photon/MeV and excellent energy resolution of 4% with no background radiation and moderate decay time. In this study, we present the development of a simultaneous PET–Compton detector that consists of an 8 × 8 multi-pixel photon counter/SiPM (MPPC) array individually coupled with a 2.5 ×2.5× 9-mm3 Ce:Gd3Ga2.7Al2.3O12 scintillators (absorbers) for proof of concept of simultaneous PET and SPECT imaging. The pixel size of the MPPC is 3 mm × 3 mm, and it is operated at 55 V at room temperature. The signals from the MPPC scintillators are individually amplified and converted with a dynamic time over threshold (dTOT) circuit to record the energy and timing information. In image reconstruction, the data acquired with the use of the developed modules are classified into events of either Compton imaging or PET imaging by coincidence detection between scatterer and absorber or between absorber and absorber, respectively. The coincidence events between absorber and absorber are regarded as PET annihilation-gamma events and those between scatterer and absorber are used as Compton imaging events. In our experiment, images of 111In and 18F-FDG, which are used as multi-nuclide tracers, are acquired simultaneously using the developed detector for Compton imaging and PET imaging. We believe that our approach is a significant step forward for medical imaging and related fields.


  • Compton imaging
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Scintillator
  • Single-photon emission CT
  • SiPM


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