Cerenkov luminescence (CL), optical radiation induced by PET radiotracers, has shown promise as a means to visualize tumor margins during surgery. However, detecting this faint optical signal under ambient lighting conditions represents a major challenge. We have developed an ambient light CL imaging system that uses a sensitive imaging detector, custom electronic control board, and an LED illumination array. By gating both LED illumination and imaging detector, we have demonstrated that is possible to image faint Cerenkov-emitting sources in a perceptually well-lit room, without harm to the sensitive detector.
System performance was characterized by imaging 18F radionuclide solution contained in 10 mm well plates, ranging in activity from >1 MBq to <1 kBq, under visible light conditions with irradiances ranging from 0 to >30 µW/cm2. Both detector and LED illumination were gated at 30 Hz with 10 ms active duty cycles. Contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was computed from ROIs drawn over activity-containing wells. Though CNR decreased with increasing illumination levels, an activity of 240 kBq, was unambiguously detectable with gated illumination of 37 µW/cm2 (equivalent to typical indoor light levels) and an activity of <24 kBq was unambiguously detectable with gated illumination of 2 µW/cm2. Furthermore, we have characterized sources of noise for the imaging system, which have provided insight into strategies for optimization in anticipation of use in an intraoperative setting.
Justin S. Klein, Aaron R. Selfridge, Gregory S. Mitchell, Martin S. Judenhoffer, and Simon R. Cherry, "Cerenkov luminescence imaging under ambient lighting conditions for intraoperative applications (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10478, Molecular-Guided Surgery: Molecules, Devices, and Applications IV, 1047810 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 29, 2018; Published: 14 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2291010.5751485402001.
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