For the imaging using low energy pure beta-emitting radionuclides, autoradiography is used by slicing the subjects because the range of beta particles is short and thought to be impossible to detect beta particles from outside the subjects. Contrary to this scientific consensus, we recently found that the distributions of C-14 could be measured by detecting the bremsstrahlung X-rays emitted from the solution of C-14 and may also be applicable to lower energy pure beta-emitting radionuclide, H-3. Although the detection of bremsstrahlung X-rays emitted from H-3 and C-14 may be a possible method for in-vivo imaging of small animals, the absorption of the bremsstrahlung X-rays in the subjects are significant because the energy of bremsstrahlung X-rays is relatively low. In addition, the generations of bremsstrahlung X-rays are lower for low energy beta particles. They may make the in-vivo imaging of these beta radionuclides difficult. To clarify these points for the in-vivo imaging of bremsstrahlung X-rays emitted from H-3 and C-14, we used Monte Carlo simulation to calculate the numbers of counts and the energy spectra of the bremsstrahlung X-rays emitted from H-3 and C-14 in water. The simulation results showed that the fraction of detected bremsstrahlung X-rays by a 4 cm × 4 cm detector in all emitted beta particles was 3.5 × 10−6 at 0.1 mm from the source. Thus, with a 10 M Bq of H-3, we will detect ~35 cps at 0.1 mm from the source so in-vivo imaging at surface area will be possible. For C-14, the fraction of detected bremsstrahlung X-rays by the detector without and with collimator were 7.0 × 10−5 and 1.1 × 10−6 at 10 mm from the source, respectively. Thus, with a 10 M Bq of C-14, we will detect ~700 cps and ~11 cps at 10 mm from the source without and with collimator, respectively. The count rate without collimator is easy to form an image in a short time using a low energy X-ray detector. With collimator, in-vivo imaging of distribution of C-14 will be possible. We conclude that in-vivo imaging of small animals by detecting the bremsstrahlung X-rays emitted from H-3 and C-14 is possible and promising for a new molecular imaging technology.
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