Improved dead-time correction for PET scanners: application to small-animal PET Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2013

start page

  • 2059

end page

  • 2072


  • 7


  • 58

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0031-9155

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1361-6560


  • Pile-up and dead-time are two main causes of nonlinearity in the response of a PET scanner as a function of activity in the field of view (FOV). For a given scanner and acquisition system, pile-up effects depend on the material and size of the object being imaged and on the distribution of activity inside and outside the FOV, because these factors change the singles-to-coincidences ratio (SCR). Thus, it is difficult to devise an accurate correction that would be valid for any acquisition. In this work, we demonstrate a linear relationship between SCR and effective dead-time, which measures the effects of both dead-time (losses) and pile-up (gains and losses). This relationship allows us to propose a simple method to accurately estimate dead-time and pile-up corrections using only two calibration acquisitions with, respectively, a high and low SCR. The method has been tested with simulations and experimental data for two different scanner geometries: a scanner with large area detectors and no pile-up rejection, and a scanner composed of two full rings of smaller detectors. Our results show that the SCR correction method is accurate within 7%, even for high activities in the FOV, and avoids the bias of the standard single-parameter method.


  • positron emission tomography; pet; small-animal pet