Development of a Practical Calibration Procedure for a Clinical SPECT/MRI System Using a Single INSERT Prototype Detector and Multimini Slit-Slat Collimator
In the context of the INSERT project, we have been developing a clinical single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) insert for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, in order to perform simultaneous SPECT/MRI of the human brain. This system will consist of 20 CsI:Tl scintillation detectors, 5-cm wide and 10-cm long, with a 72-channel silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) readout per detector, and a multimini slit-slat (MSS) collimator set up in a stationary partial ring. Additionally the system has a custom-built transmit/receive MR coil to ensure compatibility with the SPECT system. Due to the novel design of the system/collimator, existing geometric calibration methods are not suitable. Therefore we propose a novel and practical calibration procedure that consists of a set of specific independent measurements to determine the geometric parameters of the collimator. This procedure was developed utilizing a prototype system that consists of a reduced-size single detector with a 36-channel SiPM-based readout and a single MSS collimator module. Validation was performed by reconstructing different imaging phantoms, using a rotating stage to simulate a tomographic acquisition. Regarding uniformity, the coefficient of variation (COV) for the cylinder phantom reconstructed with correct calibration parameters is 6.7%, whereas the COV using incorrect parameters is 9.4%. The quality of the phantom reconstructions provide evidence of the applicability of the proposed method to the calibration of the prototype system. This procedure can be easily adapted for the final INSERT system.