Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging constitutes the molecular imaging technique of excellence and is used to evaluate a radio-tracer uptake by an organ. To obtain PET images, patients are injected with radioisotopes that decay inside the patient body emitting a positron that subsequently annihilates with a core electron of the patient body, emitting two opposite 511 keV gamma-rays. PET detectors are optimized for the specific energy of 511 keV and their operation principle is based on opposed detectors measuring in coincidences these two emitted gamma-rays.
After complex image reconstruction processes a tomographic emission image is generated. To provide high quality images, in addition to the reconstruction process, PET detectors have to be carefully designed and optimized. Key elements are the scintillation block, the photosensor and the readout electronics.
In this talk, the design, optimization, and implementation of these components is reviewed, starting at the laboratory level, overviewing the PET scanner assembly, and finishing with their translation into the clinics.