Monte Carlo simulations of pinhole imaging accelerated by kernel-based forced detection

Gieles, Mark, de Jong, Hugo W A M, Beekman, Freek J

Physics in Medicine and Biology 47 (11), p. 1853-67


Pinhole collimation can provide both higher sensitivity and resolution than parallel hole collimation when used to image small objects. When objects are placed close to the pinhole, small pinhole diameters combined with high-magnification pinhole geometries yield ultra high resolution images. With Monte Carlo (MC) calculations it is possible to simulate accurately a wide range of features of pinhole imaging. The aim of the present work is to accelerate MC simulations of pinhole SPECT projections. To achieve speed-up, forced detection (FD), a commonly used acceleration technique, is replaced by a kernel-based forced detection (KFD) step. In KFD, instead of tracing individual photons from the source or last scatter position to the detector, a position dependent kernel (point spread function (PSF)) is projected on the detector. The PSFs for channel and knife edge pinhole apertures model the penetration effects through the aperture material. For simulations, the PSFs are pre-calculated and stored in tables. The speed-up and accuracy achieved by using KFD were validated by means of digital phantoms. MC simulations with FD and with KFD converge to almost identical images. However, KFD converges to an equal image noise level one to four orders of magnitude faster than FD, depending on the number of photons simulated. A simulator accelerated by KFD could serve as a practical tool to improve iterative image reconstruction.