Exploration of Coincidence Detection of Cascade Photons to Enhance Preclinical Multi-Radionuclide SPECT Imaging

Yifei Jin, Ling Jian Meng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We proposed a technique of coincidence detection of cascade photons (CDCP) to enhance preclinical SPECT imaging of therapeutic radionuclides emitting cascade photons, such as Lu-177, Ac-225, Ra-223, and In-111. We have carried out experimental studies to evaluate the proposed CDCP-SPECT imaging of low-activity radionuclides using a prototype coincidence detection system constructed with large-volume cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) imaging spectrometers and a pinhole collimator. With In-111 in experimental studies, the CDCP technique allows us to improve the signal-to-contamination in the projection (Projection-SCR) by 53 times and reduce 98% of the normalized contamination. Compared to traditional scatter correction, which achieves a Projection-SCR of 1.00, our CDCP method boosts it to 15.91, showing enhanced efficacy in reducing down-scattered contamination, especially at lower activities. The reconstructed images of a line source demonstrated the dramatic enhancement of the image quality with CDCP-SPECT compared to conventional and triple-energy-window-corrected SPECT data acquisition. We also introduced artificial energy blurring and Monte Carlo simulation to quantify the impact of detector performance, especially its energy resolution and timing resolution, on the enhancement through the CDCP technique. We have further demonstrated the benefits of the CDCP technique with simulation studies, which shows the potential of improving the signal-to-contamination ratio by 300 times with Ac-225, which emits cascade photons with a decay constant of 0.1 ns. These results have demonstrated the potential of CDCP-enhanced SPECT for imaging a super-low level of therapeutic radionuclides in small animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1766-1781
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Cascade photons
  • SPECT imaging
  • coincidence detection
  • scatter and crosstalk contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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