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Fixed forced detection for fast SPECT Monte-Carlo simulation

Monte-Carlo simulations of SPECT images are notoriously slow to converge due to the large ratio between the number of photons emitted and detected in the collimator. This work proposes a method to accelerate the simulations based on fixed forced detection (FFD) combined with an analytical response of the detector. FFD is based on a Monte-Carlo simulation but forces the detection of a photon in each detector pixel weighted by the probability of emission (or scattering) and transmission to this pixel. The method was evaluated with numerical phantoms and on patient images. We obtained differences with analog Monte Carlo lower than the statistical uncertainty. The overall computing time gain can reach up to five orders of magnitude. Source code and examples are available in the Gate V8.0 release.