Monte Carlo simulations of a scintillation camera using GATE : validation and application modelling
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Physics in medicine & biology. - London
, p. 3021-3042
Geant4 application for tomographic emission (GATE) is a recently developed simulation platform based on Geant4, specifically designed for PET and SPECT studies. In this paper we present validation results of GATE based on the comparison of simulations against experimental data, acquired with a standard SPECT camera. The most important components of the scintillation camera were modelled. The photoelectric effect, Compton and Rayleigh scatter are included in the gamma transport process. Special attention was paid to the processes involved in the collimator: scatter, penetration and lead fluorescence. A LEHR and a MEGP collimator were modelled as closely as possible to their shape and dimensions. In the validation study, we compared the simulated and measured energy spectra of different isotopes: 99mTc, 22Na, 57Co and 67Ga. The sensitivity was evaluated by using sources at varying distances from the detector surface. Scatter component analysis was performed in different energy windows at different distances from the detector and for different attenuation geometries. Spatial resolution was evaluated using a 99mTc source at various distances. Overall results showed very good agreement between the acquisitions and the simulations. The clinical usefulness of GATE depends on its ability to use voxelized datasets. Therefore, a clinical extension was written so that digital patient data can be read in by the simulator as a source distribution or as an attenuating geometry. Following this validation we modelled two additional camera designs: the Beacon transmission device for attenuation correction and the Solstice scanner prototype with a rotating collimator. For the first setup a scatter analysis was performed and for the latter design, the simulated sensitivity results were compared against theoretical predictions. Both case studies demonstrated the flexibility and accuracy of GATE and exemplified its potential benefits in protocol optimization and in system design.