A SNSF SINERGIA grant for a revolutionary high-resolution medical imaging project.
Professor Giuseppe Iacobucci, from the Nuclear and Corpuscular Physics Department (DPNC), receives a SNSF SINERGIA grant for the 100µPET project in the filed of very high resolution medical imaging. This project aims to pioneer ultra-high resolution molecular imaging and to make this technology available for novel cutting-edge medical applications. It aims to develop a prototype of an ultra-high resolution PET scanner for small animals in combination with advanced image reconstruction algorithms. The first step of this project is to perform, as the first biomedical application, ultra-high resolution molecular imaging of the onset and progression of atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mice.
The ultra-high resolution scanner will use a multilayer of monolithic silicon pixel sensors as a detection medium. In contrast to conventional PET scanners, the concept of the 100µPET project uses photons that are converted inside 50 µm lead sheets. The electrons produced are detected and measured in highly accurate monolithic silicon sensors with a thickness of 100 µm. A stack of 60 lead+silicon detection layers ensures high efficiency with a peak sensitivity of 4%. The scanner's spatial granularity of 100×100×200 µm3 will provide unmatched spatial resolution and revolutionary depth of interaction measurements in high quality imaging.
The scanner requires the development of advanced image reconstruction algorithms capable of exploiting the millions of detection channels. The main challenge for the reconstruction software will be to process the large amount of sensor data provided by the 100µPET scanner, to reduce measurement noise and to produce image reconstructions with the highest possible spatial resolution in a reasonable computing time. This will require taking advantage of the latest developments in image reconstruction technology, in particular the use of sophisticated regularization schemes and machine learning.
These developments in instrumentation and software will overcome the current resolution limitation of PET scanners and open the field to ultra-high resolution molecular imaging. These advances will then and certainly quickly find new medical applications in very high precision imaging for humans.