Mesh modeling of system geometry and anatomy phantoms for realistic GATE simulations and their inclusion in SPECT reconstruction

Benjamin Auer, Arda Könik, Timothy J. Fromme, Jan De Beenhouwer, Kesava S. Kalluri, Clifford Lindsay, Lars R. Furenlid, Philip H. Kuo, Michael A. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Monte-Carlo simulation studies have been essential for advancing various developments in single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging, such as system design and accurate image reconstruction. Among the simulation software available, Geant4 application for tomographic emission (GATE) is one of the most used simulation toolkits in nuclear medicine, which allows building systems and attenuation phantom geometries based on the combination of idealized volumes. However, these idealized volumes are inadequate for modeling free-form shape components of such geometries. Recent GATE versions alleviate these major limitations by allowing users to import triangulated surface meshes. Approach. In this study, we describe our mesh-based simulations of a next-generation multi-pinhole SPECT system dedicated to clinical brain imaging, called AdaptiSPECT-C. To simulate realistic imaging data, we incorporated in our simulation the XCAT phantom, which provides an advanced anatomical description of the human body. An additional challenge with the AdaptiSPECT-C geometry is that the default voxelized XCAT attenuation phantom was not usable in our simulation due to intersection of objects of dissimilar materials caused by overlap of the air containing regions of the XCAT beyond the surface of the phantom and the components of the imaging system. Main results. We validated our mesh-based modeling against the one constructed by idealized volumes for a simplified single vertex configuration of AdaptiSPECT-C through simulated projection data of 123I-activity distributions. We resolved the overlap conflict by creating and incorporating a mesh-based attenuation phantom following a volume hierarchy. We then evaluated our reconstructions with attenuation and scatter correction for projections obtained from simulation consisting of mesh-based modeling of the system and the attenuation phantom for brain imaging. Our approach demonstrated similar performance as the reference scheme simulated in air for uniform and clinical-like 123I-IMP brain perfusion source distributions. Significance. This work enables the simulation of complex SPECT acquisitions and reconstructions for emulating realistic imaging data close to those of actual patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number075015
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 7 2023


  • GATE simulation
  • XCAT phantom
  • adaptispect-C
  • brain SPECT imaging
  • computer aided design software
  • simulation of complex system and phantom geometries
  • triangulated mesh

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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