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PET Detector Technology

PET Detector Technology

Since its conception in the mid 1970’s, the use of PET (Proton Emission Tomography) has been associated with a complex chain of processing steps. Following the coincidence detection of the annihilation photons of 511 keV with appropriate detectors (LSO/APD) and fast signal readout, all relevant data is collected and stored in digital format (List-Mode) for further processing. Fast reconstruction algorithms (OSEM) are applied and all required data corrections (scatter, detector efficiencies) are included to finally provide a series of tomograms. However, in addition to recognising the effect of strong magnetic fields on the distribution of positrons, complications arise when operating PET in a hybrid MR-PET system, and therefore care has to be taken to optimise data readout and detector arrangement.

Figure: Detector for the Siemens BrainPET-MR

Detector for the Siemens BrainPET-MR


Simulation of the Processing Pipeline for PET

Over recent years, our working group has implemented the complete data processing chain for PET within the framework of the simulation platform GATE. This contribution has been the backbone of ongoing detector development and also for the complete design of complex systems. In addition to this, simulation is being used extensively during the development of novel fast reconstruction algorithms and, owing to the availability of ever more powerful computing systems (CPU/GPU), even very complex systems can now be simulated under various aspects. This includes the precise consideration and implementation of all physical effects, especially all types of interactions photons undergo in the surrounding material, and also includes the effect of strong magnetic field on the distribution of the positrons in hybrid devices as MR-PET.

For our studies we use the simulation package GATE, which was developed by the OpenGATE Collaboration ( and is based on GEANT4 (CERN) ( GATE precisely implements all physical effects and was especially developed for applications simulating PET and SPECT but also covers aspects of X-ray computed tomography (CT), radiation therapy (RT) and optical imaging. Furthermore, students and scientists interested in simulation of medical imaging devices can access modules prepared within the EduGATE project.


Figure : typical visualisation from a simulation with GATE

typical visualisation from a simulation with GATE

Additional Information

PET-Detektor Technologie


Prof. Dr. U. Pietrzyk

Building: 15.9, Office: 204

Tel.:  +49-2461-61-4763
Fax: +49-2461-61-2820


Institut für Neurowissenschaften und Medizin (INM-4)
Forschungszentrum Jülich
52425 Jülich
Gebäude: 15.2