Characterisation of the attenuation properties of 3D-printed tungsten for use in gamma camera collimation.
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Background The aim of this work was to characterise the attenuation properties of 3D-printed tungsten and to assess the feasibility for its use in gamma camera collimator manufacture.Method 3D-printed tungsten disks were produced using selective laser melting (SLM). Measurements of attenuation were made through increasing numbers of disks for a Tc-99m (140 keV) and I-131 (364 keV) source. The technique was validated by repeating the measurements with lead samples. Resolution measurements were also made with a SLM tungsten collimator and compared to Monte Carlo simulations of the experimental setup. Different collimator parameters were simulated and compared against the physical measurements to investigate the effect on image quality.Results The measured disk thicknesses were on average 20% above the specified disk thicknesses. The measured attenuation for the tungsten samples were lower than the theoretical value determined from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cross-sectional database (Berger and Hubbell, XCOM: photon cross-sections on a personal computer, 1987). The laser scan strategy had a significant influence on material attenuation (up to 40% difference). Results of these attenuation measurements indicate that the density of the SLM material is lower than the raw tungsten density. However, an improved performance compared to a lead collimator was observed. The SLM tungsten collimator was adequately simulated as 80% density and 110% septal thickness. Scatter and septal penetration were 17% less than a similar lead collimator and 33% greater than tungsten at 100% density.Conclusions SLM manufacture of tungsten collimators is feasible. Attenuation properties of SLM tungsten are superior to the lead alternative and the opportunity for bespoke collimator design is appealing.
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EJNMMI physics, 2019, 6 (1), pp. 1 - ?