Innovation and Partnerships Office

OpenPET Readout Electronics for Radionuclide Imaging 2015-152


  • Medical imaging
  • Homeland security
  • Other imaging applications


  • High performance – timing resolution, spatial resolution, energy resolution, throughput
  • Supports any kinds of detector and camera configuration
  • Supports virtually any size imager
  • Easily modified via software


OpenPET is an open source, modular, extendible, and high-performance electronics platform suitable for multichannel data acquisition. Due to the flexibility of the architecture, the platform is capable of interfacing with a wide variety of detector modules including medical imaging, homeland security applications, and others.

The analog signals from radiation detectors share similar characteristics – a pulse whose area is proportional to the deposited energy and whose leading edge is used to extract a timing signal. Thus, this allows for a general design of the electronics system. The analog front-end is hosted on a module called a Detector Board, where each board can filter, combine, timestamp, and process multiple channels independently. The analog signal is sampled with a high-speed analog-to-digital converter (ADC), which is processed by an FPGA to extract pulse height information. A leading edge discriminator generates a timing signal that is processed by a time-to-digital converter (TDC) implemented inside the FPGA.

The processed data is formatted and sent through a backplane to a module called Support Board, where one Support Board can host up to eight Detector Board modules. The data in the Support Board, coming from eight Detector Board modules, can be aggregated or correlated (if needed) depending on the algorithm implemented then sent out to a Computer Workstation for further processing.

The number of channels (detector modules) to be processed mandates the overall OpenPET system configuration, which is designed to handle up to 2,048 channels using a 32-channel Detector Board in the standard configuration. Abstract OpenPET offers three system configurations: Small System which is capable of capturing and processing up to 256 analog channels; Standard System, up to 2,048 analog channels; and Large System up to 16,384 analog channels.


OpenPET website

Abu-Nimeh, F., Ito, J., Moses, W., C., Peng, Q., Choong, W.-S., “Architecture and implementation of OpenPET firmware and embedded software,” IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci., 63 (2), 620-629, 2016.