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Ultra-dense and Fast Ceramic Scintillator for PET

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R44CA243762-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R44CA243762
Amount: $197,879.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 102
Solicitation Number: PA19-272
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-05-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-04-30
Small Business Information
Watertown, MA 02472-4699
United States
DUNS: 073804411
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (617) 668-6986
Business Contact
Phone: (617) 668-6809
Research Institution

Project SummaryThe current detector technology in PET requires scintillation that has fast response, excellent
timing resolution, high detection sensitivity, good energy resolution, and last but not least
acceptable cost. At present, most PET systems use crystals of LSO (Lu2SiO5:Ce) or its analog
LYSO, which satisfy many of the listed requirements. But LSO, after years of development, has
reached its performance limit, especially for the scanners with a long axial field of view (AFOV)
that are currently being developed. The goal of these scanners is to increase the geometrical
coverage and significantly increase detection sensitivity (by a factor of 30-40), thereby reducing
the scanning times (30-40 times faster) or the patientandapos;s radiation exposure.However, long AFOV scanners face two main challenges: greater depth-of-interaction (DOI)
effects, which increase blurring and noise; and an increase in the volume required for the
constituent crystals, which make up some 50% of the cost of the entire scanner. The use of
shorter crystals can counteract both the DOI effects and the increased crystal volume (hence
cost), but with a major loss of detection efficiency, defeating the original purpose. Another
approach for reducing DOI effects is a double-ended read-out but this increases both cost and
system complexity. Therefore, to achieve viable and affordable long AFOV scanners, a new
scintillation material is required that would provide higher stopping power than LSO, with similar
or better timing properties, and at a lower cost.These requirements can be met by a scintillator based on Lu2O3. This host has a very high
density (9.4 g/cm3 vs. 7.4 g/cm3 for LSO) and an effective Z of 68 vs. 65. When doped with Yb3+, it
exhibits an ultra-fast charge transfer (CT) luminescence with decay time on the order of 1 ns,
substantially faster than the 40 ns of LSO. While the materialandapos;s light yield is low, its timing properties
are excellent with better than 250 ps resolution FWHM when paired with LaBr3:Ce. The only property
where the material is deficient is its energy resolution (andgt;15% at 511 keV, due to its low light yield).
Fortunately, this shortcoming can be addressed by double doping, which increases its light yield
to about 20,000 ph/MeV.
In this project, we plan to optimize the doping content of Lu2O3 so as to maximize its scintillation
properties and achieve energy resolution of about 8% at 511 keV and timing resolution of 200
ps. In Phase II we will increase the volumes of produced material, develop cost reduction
schemes, and produce and evaluate PET detection modules with the same performance goals.Project Narrative
The project aims at development of a new scintillator for a long axial field of view (AFOV) PET scanners.
Such scanners currently suffer from blurring and noise that can be addressed by more efficiency
detectors. Our material will compete with the current detector choices on the detection efficiency,
overall performance, and cost.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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