A feasibility study of PETiPIX: An ultra high resolution small animal PET scanner
PETiPIX is an ultra high spatial resolution positron emission tomography (PET) scanner designed for imaging mice brains. Four Timepix pixellated silicon detector modules are placed in an edge-on configuration to form a scanner with a field of view (FoV) 15 mm in diameter. Each detector module consists of 256 × 256 pixels with dimensions of 55 × 55 × 300 μm3. Monte Carlo simulations using GEANT4 Application for Tomographic Emission (GATE) were performed to evaluate the feasibility of the PETiPIX design, including estimation of system sensitivity, angular dependence, spatial resolution (point source, hot and cold phantom studies) and evaluation of potential detector shield designs. Initial experimental work also established that scattered photons and recoil electrons could be detected using a single edge-on Timepix detector with a positron source. Simulation results estimate a spatial resolution of 0.26 mm full width at half maximum (FWHM) at the centre of FoV and 0.29 mm FWHM overall spatial resolution with sensitivity of 0.01%, and indicate that a 1.5 mm thick tungsten shield parallel to the detectors will absorb the majority of non-coplanar annihilation photons, significantly reducing the rates of randoms. Results from the simulated phantom studies demonstrate that PETiPIX is a promising design for studies demanding high resolution images of mice brains.