Recent developments in targeted radiopharmaceutical labels have increased the need for sensitive, real-time gamma detection during cancer surgery and biopsy. Additive manufacturing (3D printing) in metal has now made it possible to design and fabricate complex metal collimators for compact gamma probes. We describe the design and implementation of a 3D-printed focused collimator that allows for real-time detection of gamma radiation from within a small volume of interest, using a single-crystal large-area detector. The collimator was fabricated using laser melting of powdered stainless steel (316L), using a commercial 3D metal printer (AM125, Renishaw plc). The prototype collimator is 20 mm thick, with hexagonal close-packed holes designed to focus to a point 35 mm below the surface of the collimator face. Tests were carried out with a low-activity (<1 μCi) 241 Am source, using a conventional gamma-ray detector probe, incorporating a 2.5 cm diameter, 2.5 cm thick NaI crystal coupled to a photomultiplier. The measured full-width half maximum (FWHM) was less than 5.6 mm, and collimator detection efficiency was 44%. The ability to fabricate fine features in solid metal makes it possible to develop optimized designs for high-efficiency, focused gamma collimators for real-time intraoperative imaging applications.
David W. Holdsworth, Hristo N. Nikolov, and Steven I. Pollmann, "3D-printed focused collimator for intra-operative gamma-ray detection," Proc. SPIE 10132, Medical Imaging 2017: Physics of Medical Imaging, 101321L (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 16, 2017; Published: 9 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2256051.
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