RAIT 359 Basics of Positron Emission Tomography • 3 Cr.


Covers the basic science of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, including the principles of coincidence imaging, the operation of a PET tomograph, and the creation and use of PET radiopharmaceuticals. Intended for individuals interested in pursuing clinical experience in PET. This course is intended to meet the degree requirements of the Technology and Nuclear Medicine concentrations as well as the requirements of the Positron Emission Tomography certificate of the Radiation & Imaging Sciences program. Admission to the Radiation & Imaging Sciences program or permission of the Program Chair.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Outline the basic concepts of positron emission tomography (PET), including coincidence imaging, types of events, need for attenuation correction, and time-of-flight.
  • Identify the components of a PET tomograph and discuss its operation, including detector block and ring gantry design, corrections needed, reconstruction methods, quality control procedures, image acquisition, and artifacts. 
  • Describe the production of PET radionuclides in a cyclotron and in a generator and the manufacture of PET radiopharmaceuticals. 
  • Identify and discuss imaging procedures for commonly used PET radiopharmaceuticals, and briefly discuss the use of PET radiopharmaceuticals for research.
  • Discuss in depth the physiology of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), including the need for careful patient preparation and normal variants; and identify and briefly discuss PET radiopharmaceuticals other than FDG.
  • Briefly discuss 2D vs. 3D and time-of-flight imaging, dynamic image sequences, and gated imaging techniques.
  • Describe performance measures used for PET tomographs and common artifacts in PET imaging.
  • Discuss quantitative and semi-quantitative techniques in PET, particularly the standardized uptake value.
  • Describe the benefits, acquisition techniques, and issues related to PET/CT, and briefly discuss PET/MR imaging.