SPECT imaging of 2-D and 3-D distributed sources with near-field coded aperture collimation: Computer simulation and real data validation

Zhiping Mu, Lawrence W. Dobrucki, Yi Hwa Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The imaging of distributed sources with nearfield coded aperture (CA) remains extremely challenging and is broadly considered unsuitable for single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). This study proposes a novel CA SPECT reconstruction approach and evaluates the feasibilities of imaging and reconstructing distributed hot sources and cold lesions using near-field CA collimation and iterative image reconstruction. Computer simulations were designed to compare CA and pinhole collimations in two-dimensional radionuclide imaging. Digital phantoms were created and CA images of the phantoms were reconstructed using maximum likelihood expectation maximization (MLEM). Errors and the contrast- to-noise ratio (CNR) were calculated and image resolution was evaluated. An ex vivo rat heart with myocardial infarction was imaged using a micro-SPECT system equipped with a custom-made CA module and a commercial 5-pinhole collimator. Rat CA images were reconstructed via the three-dimensional (3-D) MLEM algorithm developed for CA SPECT with and without correction for a large projection angle, and 5-pinhole images were reconstructed using the commercial software provided by the SPECT system. Phantom images of CA were markedly improved in terms of image quality, quantitative root-mean-squared error, and CNR, as compared to pinhole images. CA and pinhole images yielded similar image resolution, while CA collimation resulted in fewer noise artifacts. CA and pinhole images of the rat heart were well reconstructed and the myocardial perfusion defects could be clearly discerned from 3-D CA and 5-pinhole SPECT images, whereas 5-pinhole SPECT images suffered from severe noise artifacts. Image contrast of CA SPECT was further improved after correction for the large projection angle used in the rat heart imaging. The computer simulations and small-animal imaging study presented herein indicate that the proposed 3-D CA SPECT imaging and reconstruction approaches worked reasonably well, demonstrating the feasibilities of achieving high sensitivity and high resolution SPECT using near-field CA collimation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-43
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical and Biological Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Coded aperture
  • Maximum likelihood expectation maximization (MLEM)
  • Near field
  • Ordered subset expectation maximization (OSEM)
  • Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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