|Division:||Radiology - General|
|Address:||Carl E. Ravin Advanced Imaging Laboratories
2424 Erwin Rd, Ste 302
Durham, NC 27705
|Office Phone:||(919) 684-1442 (919) 684-1440|
1) Experimental Implementation of NSECT
Neutron spectroscopy techniques are showing significant promise in determining element concentrations in the human body. We have developed a tomographic imaging system capable of generating tomographic images of the element concentration within a body through a single non-invasive in-vivo scan. This system has been implemented using a Van-de-Graaf accelerator fast neutron source and high-purity germanium gamma detectors at the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory. This setup has been used to obtain NSECT scans for several samples such as bovine liver, mouse specimens and human breast tissue. In order to extract maximum information about a target sample with the lowest possible levels of dose, it is essential to maximize the sensitivity of the scanning system. In other words, the signal to noise ratio for the experimental setup must be maximized. This project aims at increasing the sensitivity of the NSECT system by understanding the various sources of noise and implementing techniques to reduce their effect. Noise in the system may originate from several factors such as the radiative background in the scanning room, and neutron scatter off of components of the system other than the target. Some of these effects can be reduced by using Time-of-Flight background reduction, while others can be reduced by acquiring a separate sample-out scan. Post processing background reduction techniques are also being developed for removing detector efficiency dependent noise. At this point we have acquired element information from whole mouse specimens and iron-overloaded liver models made of bovine liver tissue artificially injected with iron. Tomographic images have been generated from a solid iron and copper phantom. Our final goal is to implement a low-dose non-invasive scanning system for diagnosis of iron overload and breast cancer.
2) Monte-Carlo simulations in GEANT4
For each tomographic scan of a sample using NSECT, there are several acquisition parameters that can be varied. These parameters can broadly be classified into three categories: (i) Neutron Beam parameters: neutron flux, energy and beam width, (ii) Detector parameters: detector type, size, efficiency and location; (iii) Scanning Geometry: spatial and angular sampling rates. Due to the enormous number of combinations possible using these parameters, it is not feasible to investigate the effects of each parameter on the reconstructed image using a real neutron beam in the limited beam time available. A feasible alternative to this is to use Monte-Carlo simulations to reproduce the entire experiment in a virtual world. The effect of each individual parameter can then be studied using only computer processing time and resources. We use the high energy physics Monte-Carlo software package GEANT4, developed by CERN, which incorporates numerous tools required for building particle sources and detectors, and tracking particle interactions within them. The simulations built so far include the neutron source, HPGE and BGO gamma detectors, and several target materials such as iron, liver and breast tissue.
Agasthya GA, Harrawood BC, Shah JP, Kapadia AJ. Sensitivity analysis for liver iron measurement through neutron stimulated emission computed tomography: a Monte Carlo study in GEANT4. Phys Med Biol. 2011 Nov 29;57(1):113-126. Abstract
Kapadia AJ. Neutron Stimulated Emission Computed Tomography: A New Technique for Spectroscopic Medical Imaging. Neutron Imaging and Applications, Springer, ISBN: 978-0-387-78692-6, 2009.
Floyd CE Jr, Kapadia AJ, Bender JE, Sharma AC, Xia JQ, Harrawood BP, Tourassi GD, Lo JY, Crowell AS, Kiser MR, Howell CR. Neutron-stimulated emission computed tomography of a multi-element phantom. Phys Med Biol. 2008 May 7;53(9):2313-26. Abstract
Kapadia AJ, Sharma AC, Tourassi GD, Bender JE, Howell CR, Crowell AS, Kiser MR, Harrawood BP, Pedroni RS, and Floyd CE. Neutron stimulated emission computed tomography for diagnosis of breast cancer. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2008;55(1):501–509.
Kapadia AJ, Tourassi GD, Sharma AC, Crowell AS, Kiser MR, Howell CR. Experimental detection of iron overload in liver through neutron stimulated emission spectroscopy. Phys Med Biol. 2008 May 21;53(10):2633-49. Abstract
Bender JE, Kapadia AJ, Sharma AC, Tourassi GD, Harrawood BP, Floyd CE Jr. Breast cancer detection using neutron stimulated emission computed tomography: prominent elements and dose requirements. Med Phys. 2007 Oct;34(10):3866-71. Abstract
Floyd CE, Sharma AC, Bender JE, Kapadia AJ, Xia JQ, Harrawood BP, Tourassi GD, Lo JY, Kiser MR, Crowell AS, Pedroni RS, Macri RA, Tajima S, and Howell CR. Neutron stimulated emission computed tomography: Background corrections. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B. 2007;254:329-336.
Sharma AC, Harrawood BP, Bender JE, Tourassi GD, Kapadia AJ. Neutron stimulated emission computed tomography: a Monte Carlo simulation approach. Phys Med Biol. 2007 Oct 21;52(20):6117-31. Abstract
Sharma AC, Tourassi GD, Kapadia AJ, Harrawood BP, Crowell AS, Kiser MR, Howell CR, and Floyd CE. Design and development of a high-energy gamma camera for use with NSECT imaging: Feasibility for breast imaging. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science. 2007;54:1498-1505.
Floyd CE Jr, Bender JE, Sharma AC, Kapadia A, Xia J, Harrawood B, Tourassi GD, Lo JY, Crowell A, Howell C. Introduction to neutron stimulated emission computed tomography. Phys Med Biol. 2006 Jul 21;51(14):3375-90. Abstract