Theory and realization of a 2D high resolution and high sensitivity SPECT system with an angle-encoding attenuator pattern

Tao Feng, Jizhe Wang, Benjamin Tsui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The camera of the conventional SPECT system requires a collimator to allow incoming photons from a specific range of incident angle to reach the detector. It is the major factor that determines the spatial resolution of the camera. Moreover, it also greatly reduces the number of detected photons and hence increases statistical fluctuations in the acquired image data. The goal of this paper is to propose a theory and design for a novel high resolution and high sensitivity SPECT system without conventional collimators. The key is to resolve the incident photons from all directional angles and detected by every detector bin. Special 'attenuators' were designed to 'encode' the incoming photons from different directions similar to coded aperture to form projection data for image reconstruction. Each encoded angular pattern of detected photons was recorded as one measurement. Different angular patterns were achieved by changing the configurations of the attenuators so that angular pattern of different measurements or measurement matrix (MM) is invertible, which guarantee a unique reconstructed image. In simulation, the attenuators were fitted on a virtual full-ring gamma camera, as an alternative to the collimators in conventional SPECT systems. To evaluate the performance of the new SPECT system, analytical simulated projection data in 2D scenario were generated from the XCAT phantom. Noisy simulation using 100 noise realizations suggests that the new attenuator design provides much improved image quality in terms of contrast-noise trade-offs (∼30% improvement). The results suggest that the new design of using attenuators to replace collimator is feasible and could potentially improve sensitivity without sacrificing resolution in today's SPECT systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2730-2748
Number of pages19
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016


  • attenuator
  • collimator
  • multi-pinhole
  • multiplexing
  • system design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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