Imaging Physics at the Integrated Research Facility

Major Areas of Research

  • Standard radiographic projection images
  • Fluoroscopic image series
  • Planar radiographic studies
  • Computed tomography
  • Single Positron Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Program Description


The diagnostic X-ray equipment available at the Integrated Research Facility (IRF) (MultiDiagnost Eleva, Philips Healthcare) can provide either standard radiographic projection images or fluoroscopic image series after the injection of iodinated contrast agent. Currently we have application methods for standard planar radiographic studies.

Computed tomography is available for morphological imaging as well as paired with NM for attenuation correction and anatomical registration. Current application methods include multi-phase whole body scans and high-resolution lung imaging.

Acquiring the images and processing into quantitative data are two activities the imaging team perform in support of studies completed at the IRF.

The SPECT (Precedence, Philips Healthcare) system is a standard clinical system and therefore best suited for nonhuman primate studies due to resolution constraints. However, to try to achieve acceptable resolution, the system has been updated with a specially designed ultra ultra high-resolution (UUHR) collimator. The system is also capable of planar imaging. Current application methods include Tc 99m-based imaging using sulfur colloid designed for liver studies, which may be capable of detecting hemorrhage.

The PET (Gemini TF, Philips Healthcare) system is a standard clinical system and therefore best suited for nonhuman primate studies due to resolution constraints. Current application methods include F-18-based imaging with FDG designed for glucose uptake studies capable of detecting hyper metabolic activity.


The IRF 3.0 Tesla magnet (Achieve, Philips Healthcare) is equipped with Quasar Dual gradient coils with maximum amplitude and slew rate of 80 mT/m and 200 mT/m/ms, respectively. While designed primarily for human imaging, the system has the capability to image all animal species with the addition of specialized coils. The system comes with standard clinical head, knee, and flex coils, as well as Philips product solenoidal rat and mouse coils. In addition, the IRF has a specially designed RF coil kit, consisting of multiple, pre-fabricated loop coils with a diameter of 10 cm that can be configured in custom-designed arrays for all animal species. To support advanced imaging techniques, we have obtained high SNR local coils to address rodent imaging applications (Doty Coils) and have a research agreement with Philips to allow access to investigational software (Science Keys). Several pilot studies are initiated to bring these tools into service at IRF. Current application methods include a range of morphologic-, function-, and metabolic-based imaging techniques.

Our technologist staff members are cross-trained to operate other vendors’ equipment; these include the Siemens SPECT/CT in Poolesville, Maryland, and the hybrid small animal PET/CT in Building 33 on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. This supports IRF studies that may use this equipment and studies where this equipment produces better image quality. With this capability, we can offer backup support to other NIAID imaging. Currently, there is one study planned to use the SPECT/CT in Poolesville and two to use the PET/CT in Building 33.

Content last reviewed on