Combining photonic crystal and optical Monte Carlo simulations: implementation, validation and application in a positron emission tomography detector


  • C. Thalhammer
  • J. Breuer
  • T. Fuehrer
  • A. Popescu
  • H. Hedler
  • T. Walther
  • T. Niendorf


  • IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science


  • IEEE Trans Nucl Sci 61 (6): 3618-3626


  • This paper presents a novel approach towards incorporating photonic crystals (PhCs) into optical Monte Carlo (MC) simulations. This approach affords modeling the full diffractive nature of PhCs including their reflection and transmission behavior as well as the manipulation of the photon trajectories through light scattering. The main purpose of this tool is to study the impact of PhCs on the light yield and timing performance of scintillator-based detectors for positron emission tomography (PET). To this end, the PhCs are translated into look-up tables and implemented into the optical MC algorithm. Our simulations are validated in optical experiments using PhC samples fabricated with electron beam lithography. The experimental results indicate that the simulations match the measurements within the accuracy of the experiments. The application of the combined simulation technique to a PET detector module predicts an increase of the total light yield by up to 23% for PhC coatings versus the reference without PhCs. Timing calculations reveal an improvement of the coincident resolving time by up to 6%. The results underline the potential of PhCs to improve light yield and timing of PET detector modules.