Computational modelling of radiation transport can enhance the understanding of the relative importance of individual processes involved in imaging systems. Modelling is a powerful tool for improving detector designs in ways that are impractical or impossible to achieve through experimental measurements. Modelling of light transport in scintillation detectors used in radiology and radiotherapy imaging that rely on the detection of visible light plays an increasingly important role in detector design. Historically, researchers have invested heavily in modelling the transport of ionizing radiation while light transport is often ignored or coarsely modelled. Due to the complexity of existing light transport simulation tools and the breadth of custom codes developed by users, light transport studies are seldom fully exploited and have not reached their full potential. This topical review aims at providing an overview of the methods employed in freely available and other described optical Monte Carlo packages and analytical models and discussing their respective advantages and limitations. In particular, applications of optical transport modelling in nuclear medicine, diagnostic and radiotherapy imaging are described. A discussion on the evolution of these modelling tools into future developments and applications is presented.

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