In our previous work, we proposed a novel design for a gamma-ray detector module capable of measuring the depth of interaction (DOI). In this paper, we further developed DOI-PET detector modules and a data acquisition system, and evaluated its performance. Each detector module was composed of a 3-D scintillator array and two large-area monolithic Multi-Pixel Photon Counter (MPPC) arrays coupled to both ends of the 3-D scintillator array, leading to only 8-ch signal outputs from a module. The 3-D scintillator array was composed of 9× 9 ×7 matrices of 1.0×1.0×3.0 mm3 Ce:GAGG crystals. The detector module showed good energy resolution of 10.6% as measured at 511 keV and a high average peak to valley ratio higher than 8 for each pixel crystal identified in the X-Y-Z directions. Moreover, we evaluated the spatial resolution of a virtual 18-ch PET gantry simulated by using two detector modules that were flexibly controlled using both the X-stage and θ-stage in 20-degree steps. By measuring a 22Na point source (0.25 mm in diameter), we showed that spatial resolution substantially degrades from 1.0 mm to 7.8 mm (FWHM; as measured at 0 mm and 28 mm off-center) with a non-DOI configuration, whereas the corresponding values for the DOI configuration were 0.9 mm and 1.5 mm, respectively (FWHM; as measured at 0 mm and 28 mm off-center). This preliminary study confirms that our DOI-PET module is useful for future high spatial resolution and compact small-animal PET scanners without radial image distortions at the peripheral regions of the field of view (FOV).
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