Small animal positron emission tomography (PET) is a well-established imaging modality in preclinical biomedical research. The performance of current small animal PET scanners is mainly limited by the detector performance and depth-encoding detectors are required to simultaneously achieve high spatial resolution and high sensitivity. In this work, the performance of a high-resolution dual-ended readout lutetium-yttrium oxyorthosilicate (LYSO) array using barium sulfate powder (BaSO4) as the inter-crystal reflector was measured for the first time and compared to that of a LYSO array using the most commonly used enhanced specular reflector (ESR). Both LYSO arrays have 18  ×  18 crystals and the crystal size is about 0.62  ×  0.62  ×  20 mm3. The LYSO arrays are readout by two position-sensitive photomultiplier tubes (PSPMTs) from both ends. The flood histograms, energy resolution, depth of interaction (DOI) resolution and timing resolution were measured. The flood histograms of the LYSO array with BaSO4 reflector is much better than that of the LYSO array with ESR reflector. For the BaSO4 array, all crystals can be clearly resolved. For the ESR array, all crystals in one direction can be clearly resolved, but the edge 2–3 columns of the crystals in the other direction cannot be resolved. The average energy resolution of the BaSO4 and ESR arrays are 15.2% and 15.3%, respectively. The average DOI resolution of the BaSO4 array is 2.19 mm, which is 24% worse than the 1.76 mm DOI resolution of the ESR array. The timing resolution of both arrays is ~1.6 ns. The LYSO array with the new BaSO4 reflector provided an much better flood histogram in a high resolution dual-ended readout PET detectors as compared to the ESR array, and will be used to develop a small animal PET scanner that can simultaneously achieve uniform high spatial resolution, high sensitivity and low cost.

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