Semiconductor technology advances PET possibilities

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A prototype PET scanner, developed by Hitachi Medical Systems, which utilizes semiconductor detectors, demonstrated better quality and spatial resolution for brain imaging, according to research presented at the 55th annual Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) conference held this week in New Orleans.

“Our research indicates semiconductor scanners show great potential because of their high energy resolution and flexibility in both sizing and fine arrangement of detectors,” said Yuichi Morimoto, senior researcher for the Central Research Laboratory of Hitachi. “These characteristics should lead to improved PET images and, in turn, major advances in the practice of nuclear medicine.”

Semiconductor-based detectors could improve PET imaging capabilities because the smaller, thinner semiconductors are easier to adjust and arrange than conventional scanners, according to the Tokyo-based company.

The new technology allows for even higher spatial resolution, less noise or irrelevant images. The prototype semiconductor PET scanner also employs a depth-of-interaction detection system, which reduces errors at the periphery of the field of view, according to the researchers.

The physical performance of the prototype scanner was evaluated in a study of the technology's clinical significance in patients suffering from partial epilepsy and nasopharyngeal cancer.

The results indicate that the PET scanner is feasible for clinical use and has good potential for providing higher spatial resolution and quantitative imaging. The device, which has been installed in Hokkaido University Hospital in Sapporo, Japan, is a result of collaboration with staff from the department of nuclear medicine at the university.