The patent's assignee for patent number 8525117 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Medical imaging systems often make use of a large number of separate radiation detectors in order to provide high resolution imaging. For example, a typical positron emission tomography (PET) system may include hundreds or thousands of separate detectors. Furthermore, radiation imaging is often performed in conjunction with other imaging modalities (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) that can complicate the task of dealing with the large number of radiation detector channels. For example, MRI systems can generate significant levels of electrical interference. Accordingly, methods of multiplexing the detector channels, or otherwise reducing the cost/complexity of radiation imaging systems are of great interest.
"One way to reduce the number of detector channels is considered in US 2004/0200966. In this work, a scintillation crystal array having M elements is coupled to a detector array having N
"More specifically, it can be difficult to provide the required coupling of many scintillation crystals to each detector in practice. For example, 10 detectors in this approach could theoretically distinguish signals from about 1000 scintillation crystals. However, it would be necessary for each of the detectors to be connected to about 500 scintillation crystals, which presents substantial practical difficulties.
"Accordingly, it would be an advance in the art to provide improved multiplexing for radiation imaging systems."
As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Multiplexing for radiation imaging is provided by using optical delay combiners to provide distinct optical encoding for each detector channel. Each detector head provides an optical output which is encoded. The encoded optical signals can be optically combined to provide a single optical output for all of the detectors in the system. This single optical output can be coupled to a fast photodetector (e.g., a streak camera). The pulse readout from the photodetector can decode the arrival time of the event, the energy of the event, and determine which channels registered the detection event. Preferably, the detector heads provide coherent optical outputs, and the optical delay combiners are preferably implemented using photonic crystal technology to provide photonic integrated circuits including many delay combiners.
"This approach provides several significant advantages. First, a very high degree of multiplexing can be obtained, which can greatly reduce overall system complexity. In particular, it is not necessary to have expensive fast electronics devoted to each channel separately, as is presently needed in conventional imaging systems. By only requiring expensive fast electronics in a single channel (i.e., at the combined optical output), highly significant cost reduction can be obtained compared to approaches that use hundreds or even thousands of channels of costly electronics in parallel. Second, the system front end is mostly or entirely optical, which reduces its vulnerability to electrical interference. Third, by having a single high performance channel, the timing resolution may be improved, which can improve image quality and accuracy (e.g., in time of flight PET (TOF-PET))."
For additional information on this patent, see: Levin, Craig S.; Olcott, Peter D.. Optical Delay Combining for Multiplexing in Radiation Imaging Systems. U.S. Patent Number 8525117, filed
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics,
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