In this work a comparison between experimental and simulated data using GATE and PeneloPET Monte Carlo simulation packages is presented. All simulated setups, as well as the experimental measurements, followed exactly the guidelines of the NEMA NU 4-2008 standards using the microPET R4 scanner. The comparison was focused on spatial resolution, sensitivity, scatter fraction and counting rates performance. Both GATE and PeneloPET showed reasonable agreement for the spatial resolution when compared to experimental measurements, although they lead to slight underestimations for the points close to the edge. High accuracy was obtained between experiments and simulations of the system's sensitivity and scatter fraction for an energy window of 350-650 keV, as well as for the counting rate simulations. The latter was the most complicated test to perform since each code demands different specifications for the characterization of the system's dead time. Although simulated and experimental results were in excellent agreement for both simulation codes, PeneloPET demanded more information about the behavior of the real data acquisition system. To our knowledge, this constitutes the first validation of these Monte Carlo codes for the full NEMA NU 4-2008 standards for small animal PET imaging systems.
Popota FD, Aguiar P, España S, Lois C, Udias JM, Ros D, Pavia J, Gispert JD. Monte Carlo simulations versus experimental measurements in a small animal PET system. A comparison in the NEMA NU 4-2008 framework. Phys Med Biol. 2015;60(1):151–162. doi:10.1088/0031-9155/60/1/151