Impact of intense x-ray pulses on a NaI(Tl)-based gamma camera

Koppert, Wilco J C, van der Velden, Sandra, Steenbergen, J H Leo, de Jong, Hugo W A M


Physics in Medicine and Biology 63 (6),


INTRODUCTION: In SPECT/CT systems X-ray and -ray imaging is performed sequentially. Simultaneous acquisition may have advantages, for instance in interventional settings. However, this may expose a gamma camera to relatively high X-ray doses and deteriorate its functioning. We studied the NaI(Tl) response to X-ray pulses with a photodiode, PMT and gamma camera, respectively.
 Method: First, we exposed a NaI(Tl)-photodiode assembly to X-ray pulses to investigate potential crystal afterglow. Next, we exposed a NaI(Tl)-PMT assembly to 10 ms LED pulses (mimicking X-ray pulses) and measured the response to flashing LED probepulses (mimicking -pulses). We then exposed the assembly to X-ray pulses, with detector entrance doses of up to 9 nGy/pulse, and analysed the response for -pulse variations. Finally, we studied the response of a Siemens Diacam gamma camera to -rays while exposed to X-ray pulses.
 Results: X-ray exposure of the crystal, readout with a photodiode, revealed 15% afterglow fraction after 3 ms. The NaI(Tl)- PMT assembly showed disturbances up to 10 ms after 10 ms LED exposure. After X-ray exposure however, responses showed elevated baselines, with 60 ms decay-time. Both for X-ray and LED exposure and after baseline subtraction, probe-pulse analysis revealed disturbed pulse height measurements shortly after exposure. X-ray exposure of the Diacam corroborated the elementary
 experiments. Up to 50 ms after an X-ray pulse, no events are registered, followed by apparent energy elevations up to 100 ms after exposure. Limiting the dose to 0.02 nGy/pulse, prevents detrimental effects.
 Conclusions: Conventional gamma cameras exhibit substantial dead-time and misregistration of photon energies up to 100 ms after intense X-ray pulses. This is due PMT limitations and due to afterglow in the crystal. Using PMTs with modified circuitry, we show that deteriorative afterglow effects can be reduced without noticeable effects on the PMT performance, up to X-ray pulses doses of 1 nGy.&#13.