Automatic Channel Fault Detection on a Small Animal APD-Based Digital PET Scanner

Avalanche photodiode (APD) based positron emission tomography (PET) scanners show enhancedimaging capabilities in terms of spatial resolution and contrast due to the one to one coupling and size of individual crystal-APD detectors. However, to ensure the maximal performance, these PET scanners require proper calibration by qualified scanner operators, which can become a cumbersome task because of the huge number of channels they are made of. An intelligent system (IS) intends to alleviate this workload by enabling a diagnosis of the observational errors of the scanner. The IS can be broken down into four hierarchical blocks: parameter extraction, channel fault detection, prioritization and diagnosis. One of the main activities of the IS consists in analyzing available channel data such as: normalization coincidence counts and single count rates, crystal identification classification data, energy histograms, APD bias and noise thresholds to establish the channel health status that will be used to detect channel faults.

This paper focuses on the first two blocks of the IS: parameter extraction and channel fault detection.The purpose of the parameter extraction block is to process available data on individual channels into parameters that are subsequently used by the fault detection block to generate the channel health status. To ensure extensibility, the channel fault detection block is divided into indicators representing different aspects of PET scanner performance: sensitivity, timing, crystal identification and energy. Some experiments on a 8 cm axial length LabPET scanner located at the Sherbrooke Molecular Imaging Center demonstrated an erroneous channel fault detection rate of 10% (with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of [9, 11]) which is considered tolerable. Globally, the IS achieves a channel fault detection efficiency of 96% (CI: [95, 97]), which proves that many faults can be detected automatically. Increased fault detection efficiency would be advantage- us but, the achieved results would already benefit scanner operators in their maintenance task.

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