Development of a new photon diffraction imaging system for diagnostic nuclear medicine

D. E. Roa, R. K. Smither, X. Zhang, K. Nie, Y. Y. Shieh, N. S. Ramsinghani, N. Milne, J. V. Kuo, J. L. Redpath, M. S.A.L. Al-Ghazi, P. Caligiuri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The objective of this project is to develop and construct an innovative imaging system for nuclear medicine and molecular imaging that uses photon diffraction and is capable of generating 1-2 mm spatial resolution images in two or three dimensions. The proposed imaging system would be capable of detecting radiopharmaceuticals that emit 100-200 keV gamma rays which are typically used in diagnostic nuclear medicine and in molecular imaging. The system is expected to be optimized for the 140.6 keV gamma ray from a Tc-99m source, which is frequently used in nuclear medicine. This new system will focus the incoming gamma rays in a manner analogous to a magnifying glass focusing sunlight into a small focal point on a detector's sensitive area. Focusing gamma rays through photon diffraction has already been demonstrated with the construction of a diffraction lens telescope for astrophysics and a scaled-down lens for medical imaging, both developed at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). In addition, spatial resolutions of 3 mm have been achieved with a prototype medical lens. The proposed imaging system would be comprised of an array of photon diffraction lenses tuned to diffract a specific gamma ray energy (within 100-200 keV) emitted by a common source. The properties of photon diffraction make it possible to diffract only one specific gamma ray energy at a time, which significantly reduces scattering background. The system should be sufficiently sensitive to the detection of small concentrations of radioactivity that can reveal potential tumor sites at their initial stages of development. Moreover, the system's sensitivity would eliminate the need for re-injecting a patient with more radiopharmaceutical if this patient underwent a prior nuclear imaging scan. Detection of a tumor site at its inception could allow for an earlier initiation of treatment and wider treatment options, which can potentially improve the chances for cure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFocusing Telescopes in Nuclear Astrophysics
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)1402053037, 9781402053030
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


  • Lens
  • Medical imaging
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Photon diffraction
  • Radiopharmaceuticals


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