3D printing of radioactive phantoms for nuclear medicine imaging.

Läppchen, Tilman; Meier, Lorenz P.; Fürstner, Markus; Prenosil, George; Krause, Thomas; Rominger, Axel; Klaeser, Bernd; Hentschel, Michael (2020). 3D printing of radioactive phantoms for nuclear medicine imaging. EJNMMI Physics, 7(1), p. 22. Springer 10.1186/s40658-020-00292-0

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For multicenter clinical studies, PET/CT and SPECT/CT scanners need to be validated to ensure comparability between various scanner types and brands. This validation is usually performed using hollow phantoms filled with radioactive liquids. In recent years, 3D printing technology has gained increasing popularity for manufacturing of phantoms, as it is cost-efficient and allows preparation of phantoms of almost any shape. So far, however, direct 3D printing with radioactive building materials has not yet been reported. The aim of this work was to develop a procedure for preparation of 99mTc-containing building materials and demonstrate successful application of this material for 3D printing of several test objects.


The desired activity of a [99mTc]pertechnetate solution eluted from a 99Mo/99mTc-generator was added to the liquid 3D building material, followed by a minute amount of trioctylphosphine. The resulting two-phase mixture was thoroughly mixed. Following separation of the phases and chemical removal of traces of water, the radioactive building material was diluted with the required volume of non-radioactive building material and directly used for 3D printing.


Using our optimized extraction protocol with trioctylphosphine as complex-forming phase transfer agent, technetium-99m was efficiently transferred from the aqueous 99Mo/99mTc-generator eluate into the organic liquid resin monomer. The observed radioactivity concentration ratio between the organic phase and the water phase was > 2000:1. The radioactivity was homogeneously distributed in the liquid resin monomer. We did not note differences in the 3D printing behavior of the radiolabeled and the unlabeled organic liquid resin monomers. Radio-TLC and SPECT studies showed homogenous 2D and 3D distribution of radioactivity throughout the printed phantoms. The radioactivity was stably bound in the resin, apart from a small amount of surface-extractable radioactivity under harsh conditions (ethanol at 50 °C).


3D printing of radioactive phantoms using 99mTc-containing building materials is feasible. Compared to the classical fillable phantoms, 3D printing with radioactive building materials allows manufacturing of phantoms without cold walls and in almost any shape. Related procedures with longer-lived radionuclides will enable production of phantoms for scanner validation and quality control.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Clinic of Nuclear Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Läppchen, Tilman, Meier, Lorenz, Fürstner, Markus, Prenosil, George, Krause, Thomas Michael, Rominger, Axel Oliver, Klaeser, Bernd, Hentschel, Michael


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Sabine Lanz

Date Deposited:

29 Dec 2020 17:02

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:42

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

3D printing Phantom Printer ink Resin monomer SPECT Scanner validation Technetium-99m





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