Detector development

Detectors for medical applications

Experimental particle physics requires development and mastery of the latest developments in technology. Other fields can benefit from cutting edge technology we develop in our laboratories. One prolific example is applying to medical physics, where we are introducing advances in photodetectors and readout electronics to improve detection technologies in positron emission tomography (PET) and fluorescence measurements. Leveraging our experience from the design and deployment of Cherenkov detectors in experimental particle physics, we have developed a novel PET detector based on prompt Cherenkov photons detection. In 2020, we produced two multi-channel detector Cherenkov positron emission tomography modules, integrated with fast readout electronics capable of time-of-flight image reconstruction.

The PET detector development is linked with advanced physics simulation and image reconstruction algorithm developments. Our experience has played a central role in proposing a next-generation PET detector exploiting ultra-fast timing and advanced geometries (figure 9). We initiated the collaboration between the University of Barcelona, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, University of California, Davies and Harvard University.


Detector technologies are also critical in the application of fluorescence lifetime measurement. In 2020 we successfully concluded the EU ATTRACT project, producing a prototype of an ultra-fast fluorescence lifetime acquisition system. The development has attracted first potential users in biology and pharmaceutical production and received the Jožef Stefan Institute Center for Technology Transfer and Innovation Foundation grant to progress the system's technology readiness level.

We are also collaborating with CSIC/IFIC, Valencia Spain and the Ohio State University at Columbus, OH, USA in development of high resolution detectors and their applications in PET under partial sponsorship of the bilateral Slovenia/USA project. This is a continuous effort of bridging the gap between high sensitivity detectors found in standard PET rings and sub-millimeter detection probes and combining them to simultaneously achieve high spatial resolution in selected region of interest with minimum interference with standard PET operation.