The purpose of this study was to determine the performance of a single lutetium oxy-orthosilicate (LSO) crystal layer High Resolution Research Tomograph (HRRT) positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. The HRRT is a high resolution PET scanner designed for human brain and small animal imaging. The scanner consists of eight panel detectors, which have one layer of 2.1 × 2.1 × 7.5 mm thick LSO crystals. Several phantom studies were performed to determine scanner characteristics, such as resolution, scatter fraction, count rate and noise equivalent count rates (NECR). NECR curves were measured according to both NEMA NU2-1994 and NU2-2001 for three different energy windows, i.e. lower level discriminators (lld) of 350, 400 and 450 keV and an upper level discriminator (uld) of 650 keV. Accuracy of scatter and single photon attenuation corrections was evaluated according to NU2-1994. Data were acquired using a ring difference of 67 and a span of 9. Reconstructions were performed using FORE + 2D FBP or OSEM. Transaxial resolution varied from 2.7 to 2.9 mm FWHM between 1 and 10 cm off centre locations, and axial resolution varied from 3.2 to 4.4 mm FWHM. Scatter fractions (NU2-1994) equalled 0.31, 0.42 and 0.54 for lld of 450, 400 and 350 keV, respectively. NECR data were highest for an lld of 400 keV and showed a maximum of 46 kcps at 38 kBq cm-3. Lower NECR values were observed according to NU2-2001, but were still optimal for an lld of 400 keV. After scatter and attenuation corrections, pixel values within water, air and teflon inserts of the NU2-1994 phantom were 14, 4 and 35% of the background activity, respectively. The single layer LSO HRRT scanner shows excellent spatial resolution, making it suitable for small animal studies. The low count rate performance, due to the small amount of LSO, prohibits studies of the human brain, but is sufficient for studies in small laboratory animals.