Multimodal phantoms for clinical PET/MRI

Eve Lennie*, Charalampos Tsoumpas, Steven Sourbron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Phantoms are commonly used throughout medical imaging and medical physics for a multitude of applications, the designs of which vary between modalities and clinical or research requirements. Within positron emission tomography (PET) and nuclear medicine, phantoms have a well-established role in the validation of imaging protocols so as to reduce the administration of radioisotope to volunteers. Similarly, phantoms are used within magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to perform quality assurance on clinical scanners, and gel-based phantoms have a longstanding use within the MRI research community as tissue equivalent phantoms. In recent years, combined PET/MRI scanners for simultaneous acquisition have entered both research and clinical use. This review explores the designs and applications of phantom work within the field of simultaneous acquisition PET/MRI as published over the period of a decade. Common themes in the design, manufacture and materials used within phantoms are identified and the solutions they provided to research in PET/MRI are summarised. Finally, the challenges remaining in creating multimodal phantoms for use with simultaneous acquisition PET/MRI are discussed. No phantoms currently exist commercially that have been designed and optimised for simultaneous PET/MRI acquisition. Subsequently, commercially available PET and nuclear medicine phantoms are often utilised, with CT-based attenuation maps substituted for MR-based attenuation maps due to the lack of MR visibility in phantom housing. Tissue equivalent and anthropomorphic phantoms are often developed by research groups in-house and provide customisable alternatives to overcome barriers such as MR-based attenuation correction, or to address specific areas of study such as motion correction. Further work to characterise materials and manufacture methods used in phantom design would facilitate the ability to reproduce phantoms across sites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number62
Number of pages24
JournalEJNMMI physics
Publication statusPublished - 26-Aug-2021


  • Hybrid imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Phantoms
  • Positron emission tomography

Cite this