The resolution of current animal PET systems is on the order of millimeter. Images with higher resolution will greatly improve our capability of studying human diseases using mouse models. For example, sub-millimeter resolution would be required in order to detect metastases or study brain function in mice. While tremendous advance has been made in detector designs, sophisticated data processing techniques are necessary to realize its full potential. We are working on several fronts to push the resolution beyond the current limit, including super-resolution with continuous bed motion, estimation of detector blurring matrix from point source data, objective assessment of image quality for detection and quantification, and error correction in reconstruction algorithms.
Recently we have also proposed a zoom-in PET design that incorporates a high-resolution detector into an existing PET scanner to obtain high-resolution images of a targeted region with high sensitivity. We also developed a method to find the optimal position of the high-resolution detector for adpative imaging.
|Reconstructed images of a simulated phantom using the microPET II scanner (left) and the zoom-in PET (right). Substantial improvement in spatial resolution is achieved by incorporating a high-resolution detector into the microPET II scanner.|
|High-resolution PET image obtained using our method (right) compared with the image obtained using the manufacture’s software (left).|