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Achieving fast timing in positron emission tomography (PET) at the level of few tenth of picoseconds is limited by the photon emission rate of existent materials with standard scintillation mechanisms. This has led to consider quantum confined excitonic sub-1ns emission in semiconductors as a viable solution to enhance the amount of fast-emitted photons produced per gamma event. However the introduction of nanocrystals and nanostructures into the domain of radiation detectors is a challenging problem. In order to move forward along this line, the standard bulk detector geometry and readout should be updated to allow for the implementation of new materials and within others, compensate for some of their intrinsic limitations. In this paper we will cover two study cases in which a fast emitter is combined with state-of-the-art scintillators in a sampling geometry designed to provide better timing for a fraction of the 511keV events. For this test, we use a fast plastic scintillator BC-422 able to deliver a detector time resolution of 25ps FWHM (equivalent coincidence time resolution CTR of 35ps) and we combined it with LYSO or BGO 200μm thick plates building a sampling pixel composed by two active scintillating materials. We develop a new proof of concept readout that allows for the identification of different types of events, carrying standard or improved timing information. Results are showing a detector time resolution DTR of 67ps FWHM (equivalent to a CTR of 95ps) for one third of the events depositing 511keV in the BGO + BC-422 <s3.8x3.8x3mm>3</3> sampling pixel. The other two third of the 511keV events perform like standard bulk 3mm long BGO crystals with a time resolution of around 117ps (equivalent to a CTR of 165ps). For the case of LYSO + BC-422 sampling pixel, shared 511keV events reach a DTR of 39ps (CTR of 55ps) in comparison to 57ps (CTR of 83ps) for 511keV events fully contained in LYSO of the same size. This work is a step forward in the integration of fast semiconductor nanocrystals and nanostructures with present detector technologies.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Physics in medicine and biology
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