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[en] Dedicated small-animal PET scanners functionality can be optimized by improving the sensitivity and spatial resolution of the scanner. Approximately most of the developed and commercially available small-animal PET scanners are equipped with pixelated scintillators; therefore, their spatial resolution is limited to the crystal pixel size. Complex fabrication, low-sensitivity, and disability in depth of interaction calculation (DOI) are the major disadvantages of pixelated crystals. However, monolithic scintillator crystals are known as one of the most commonly used substitutions, as they have higher sensitivity, DOI recognition, and lower cost. We already designed and implemented a dedicated small-animal PET scanner based on pixelated scintillator crystals and silicon photomultiplier (SiPM). In this study, we plan to present a new optimized design based on the monolithic crystal, with similar performance by the previous scanner. Then we would optimize the thickness of the monolithic crystals for animal PET scanners as a function of sensitivity and spatial resolution. All simulations were performed based on GEANT4, a validated Monte Carlo toolkit. We simulated a recently fabricated scanner with pixelated crystals and compared it with a simulated scanner based on an optimized monolithic crystal. The experimental setup used for comparison and validation is a small Animal PET consisting of ten pixelated modules. This study anticipates that by replacing a pixelated crystal (consist of 24 × 24 LYSO elements, and 2 × 2 ×10 mm3 crystal size) with a monolithic crystal (with 8 mm thickness and 50.2 × 50.2 entrance area), the average spatial resolution stays the same and sensitivity grows ∼ 17% in the center of AFOV and also the fabrication cost dives remarkably. Simulation reveals that although the depth of interaction DOI was not taken into consideration, the crystals with 6 mm thickness have acceptable spatial resolution (∼ 1.3 mm FWHM at the centre of the AFOV) and relatively good absolute sensitivity (∼ 1.6%).