Physics Department Seminar
Dr. Christopher Thompson
Professor Emeritus
McGill University
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Recent Developments in Time-of-Flight Positron Emission Tomography


Over the years research involved in improving the performance of PET imaging has concentrated on improving its spatial resolution and image quality. Recent scanners have come close to the theoretical limit of spatial resolution, but their lack of sensitivity has meant that

images must be blurred in order to visualize small structures. Advances in 3D reconstruction have to some extent improved the image quality. In the last few years Time-of-Flight PET has been “rediscovered” and made practical with faster scintillators and lower noise light detectors like silicon photomultipliers. Commercial PET scanners can achieve about 400 picosecond time resolution currently which significantly improves image quality and reduces reconstruction time.

The research into new ligands for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, has revived interest in PET designs of human brain imaging. Ideally these would have time-of-flight resolution better than 200 picoseconds, and have significantly better efficiency that the Siemens “high resolution research tomograph” (HRRT) which is design over 15 years old.