beta(+)-sensitive probes are useful tools for the measurement of radiotracer kinetics in small animals. They allow the cost-effective development of new PET tracers and offer the possibility to investigate a variety of cerebral processes. The study's main aim was the in vivo evaluation of a probe system for cerebral surface acquisitions. The detector system is a 0.2-mm thick scintillating disk of 3-mm diameter, positioned close to the cerebral surface. The study consists of 4 subparts: (1) simulation of the detection volume, (2) direct comparison with the classic intracortical beta probe regarding its capability to acquire kinetic data, (3) test of the ability to detect local tracer accumulations during infraorbital nerve (ION) electrostimulation and (4) demonstration of the feasibility to measure tracer kinetics in awake animals. Kinetic data acquired with (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose and (15)O-H(2)O were fitted with standard compartment models. The surface probe measurements were in good agreement with those obtained using the intracortical scintillator. ION electrostimulation induced a marked increase in tracer accumulation adequately detected by the surface probe. In the head-fixed animal, a marked change in FDG kinetics was detected between the awake and anesthetized state. The novel surface probe system proved to be a valuable instrument for in vivo radiotracer studies of the cerebral cortex. Its main advantage is the absence of any tissue damage. In addition, serial acquisitions of tracer kinetics in the awake animal turned out to be feasible.