Polycrystalline LuAlO3:Ce Scintillators for PET Applications
Although PET imaging, a technology used in medicine, has advanced rapidly in recent decades, further advances will depend on improvements in the scintillator materials. New materials have been identified, but they are unstable under the conditions used for single crystal growth, leading frequently to poor quality. LuAlO3:Ce appears to be an excellent candidate for PET applications, but the challenges associated with growing single crystals of this material make the task of commercialization and optimization especially challenging. This project will utilize powder synthesis and ceramic processing to develop transparent polycrystalline scintillators from LuAlO3:Ce. In Phase I, sol-gel synthesis will be used to produce comositionally homogeneous powders of LuAlO3:Ce. These powders will be formed into green bodies and sintered to transparency. The properties of these scintillators will be evaluated and compared against the single crystal materials currently used for PET. The scintillation characterisics of the powders will be evaluated as a fast screening tool for material optimization, through adjustments of dopant and co-dopant additions. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the Applicant: Transparent ceramic scintillators would be expected to benefit the health care and pharmaceutical industries, enhancing the spatial resolution of PET imaging. Ceramic scintillators would be less expensive and easier to produce than single crystals of the same materials. Ultimately, these advances would have a beneficial impact on the early identification of diseases such as cancer, which is less costly to treat when diagnosed early. In addition, the pharmaceutical industry may benefit by shortening clinical and pre-clinical trials, through better correlation between small animal and human studies
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