Reconstruction of 2D PET data with Monte Carlo generated system matrix for generalized natural pixels
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Physics in medicine & biology. - London
, p. 3105-3125
In discrete detector PET, natural pixels are image basis functions calculated from the response of detector pairs. By using reconstruction with natural pixel basis functions, the discretization of the object into a predefined grid can be avoided. Here, we propose to use generalized natural pixel reconstruction. Using this approach, the basis functions are not the detector sensitivity functions as in the natural pixel case but uniform parallel strips. The backprojection of the strip coefficients results in the reconstructed image. This paper proposes an easy and efficient way to generate the matrix M directly by Monte Carlo simulation. Elements of the generalized natural pixel system matrix are formed by calculating the intersection of a parallel strip with the detector sensitivity function. These generalized natural pixels are easier to use than conventional natural pixels because the final step from solution to a square pixel representation is done by simple backprojection. Due to rotational symmetry in the PET scanner, the matrix M is block circulant and only the first blockrow needs to be stored. Data were generated using a fast Monte Carlo simulator using ray tracing. The proposed method was compared to a listmode MLEM algorithm, which used ray tracing for doing forward and backprojection. Comparison of the algorithms with different phantoms showed that an improved resolution can be obtained using generalized natural pixel reconstruction with accurate system modelling. In addition, it was noted that for the same resolution a lower noise level is present in this reconstruction. A numerical observer study showed the proposed method exhibited increased performance as compared to a standard listmode EM algorithm. In another study, more realistic data were generated using the GATE Monte Carlo simulator. For these data, a more uniform contrast recovery and a better contrast-to-noise performance were observed. It was observed that major improvements in contrast recovery were obtained with MLEM when the correct system matrix was used instead of simple ray tracing. The correct modelling was the major cause of improved contrast for the same background noise. Less important factors were the choice of the algorithm (MLEM performed better than ART) and the basis functions (generalized natural pixels gave better results than pixels).