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CONDENSATION-FREE DEW POINT MANAGEMENT AND FAILSAFE TO PROTECT SOLID STATE PET DETECTOR ELECTRONICS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000248021D
Publication Date: 2016-Oct-19
Document File: 7 page(s) / 150K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A technique to manage dew point of a solid state positron emission tomography (PET) detector without condensing liquid is disclosed. The technique uses a detector configuration that includes components, such as, a plenum to seal an outer side of a detector volume, an array of PET detectors made of cold plates for cooling the solid state detector, a set of gaps on an inner side of the detector, a set of environmental sensors inside of a semi-sealed volume nearest to the detector, a set of environmental sensors outside of the semi-sealed volume, a controller to drive logic based on environment, and a desiccant based dehumidifier to dry air in the environment as commanded by the controller. The PET solid state detector is enclosed in a semi-sealed volume. The detector is used in conjunction with a cooling system to regulate detector temperature, an environment controller, and a desiccant based dehumidifier to manage the dew point and protect the system from condensation during normal operation and fault conditions without employing methods of condensation to dry the environment. The technique also uses positive pressure in the semi-sealed volume to control the dew point and prevent condensation on all sides of cold surfaces. Dry air is pressurized in a plenum, thereby, allowing air to blow over cold surfaces and detector crystal surfaces via gaps in the detector and regulate dew points in the gaps, where a completely sealed enclosure is not feasible without interfering with or adding attenuating hardware in a visible path of the disclosure.

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CONDENSATION-FREE DEW POINT MANAGEMENT AND FAILSAFE TO PROTECT SOLID STATE PET DETECTOR ELECTRONICS

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to a solid state detector used in a positron emission tomography (PET) and more particularly to a technique for managing dew point of a solid state positron emission tomography (PET) detector without condensing liquid.

Generally, in a positron emission tomography (PET), digital solid state detectors have increased timing resolution when employing digital photo-multipliers over conventional photo-multiplier vacuum tubes. Such digital devices are known to experience increased dark currents at higher temperatures, thereby, degrading timing resolution of an end-use application or product.  Sub-ambient temperature cooling of the digital detectors in PET scanners is known to reduce dark currents, thereby, mitigating performance impacts.  The sub-ambient cooling introduces a risk of condensation, reduced reliability, or even damage to sensitive electronics.  Conventional dehumidification techniques condense liquid which increases corrosion, increase customer citing costs, or damage electronics due to liquid present in close proximity to the sensitive electronics.

For example, a conventional technique uses thermoelectric coolers to condense moisture in a detector environment. The technique is used as a means to reduce dew point near cooled detector electronics.  Essentially, moisture is proactively condensed into a known area to improve detector reliability.  However, the technique does not enable complete evaporation of moisture or draining of moisture from the PET. There still exists a challenge to dispose the moisture from the PET that drives higher infrastructure costs for scanner users employing the above mentioned conventional technique.  Moisture corrodes on components, leave residues, or cause damage, if the moisture is not appropriately evaporated or drained.

Therefore, it would be desirable to have an improved technique to regulate dew point in solid state PET detectors wherein moisture is not condensed from the air and therefore not required to be managed in liquid form.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Figure 1 depicts an arrangement of the components in the detector configuration for management of the dew point.

Figure 2 depicts a flow chart showing an example implementation of a dew point control scheme employing use of two groups of environmental sensors. 

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A technique to manage dew point of a solid state positron emission tomography (PET) detector without condensing liquid is disclosed. The technique uses a detector configuration that includes components, such as, a plenum to seal an outer side of a detector volume, an array of PET detectors made of cold plates for cooling the solid state detector, a set of gaps on an inner side of the detector, a set of environmental sensors inside of a semi-sealed volume nearest to the detector, a set of environmental sensors o...