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Oct 19, 2021

Highlights Day Three: IEEE NSS-MIC RTSD 2021

- By York Haemisch

Dr York Haemisch, our Director Medical and Research Markets, reports from this year’s virtual IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference and 28th International Symposium on Room-Temperature Semiconductor Detectors.

Imagine you could observe, in real-time, the behaviour of molecules in the human body. This possibility came closer to reality in what was, for me, the highlight talk of Monday’s program.

Riyosuke Ota, from Hamamatsu, who presented the first ever reconstruction-free PET images, opened the joint NSS-MIC RTSD session with the outstanding results of a collaboration between Hamamatsu, the University of California Davis, University of Fukui and Kitasato University in Japan. Together, the group has designed detectors with a timing resolution of 35 picoseconds, an astonishing achievement when compared to even current state-of-the-art detectors which have a timing resolution of 250 picoseconds. While what was shown was still a demonstration on a lab bench setup, this technology has huge implications for new imaging devices. For example, a tomographic setup will no longer be required and a wealth of possibilities open up for the medical studies that could be performed.

I returned to photon counting, X-ray detection for Andrea Brambilla’s interesting report about a Monte Carlo simulation study aimed at the evaluation of the spectral performance of photon counting detectors as a function of their pixel size and the applied X-ray fluxes. His simulation confirmed the necessity for charge sharing correction in small pixel detectors.

The RTSD part of the conference began with insights into the very latest developments in material research on CZT and other high density direct conversion materials. The focus was on spectroscopic and timing properties as well as radiation induced damages.  I found the talks by Ira Blevis and his colleagues from Philips in Haifa of particular interest as they presented the potential use of CZT as a time-of-flight detector for PET and demonstrated a timing resolution of < 500 ps with the outlook of lowering it below a 100 ps in future setups.

Also of note was the opening NSS plenary session, which provided updates on many of the large accelerator experiments around the world and continued with a dedicated session on image reconstruction using deep learning and AI methods.

More to come tomorrow!