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We develop algorithms for obtaining regularized estimates of emission means in positron emission tomography. The first algorithm iteratively minimizes a penalized maximum-likelihood (PML) objective function. It is based on standard de-coupled surrogate functions for the ML objective function and de-coupled surrogate functions for a certain class of penalty functions. As desired, the PML algorithm guarantees nonnegative estimates and monotonically decreases the PML objective function with increasing iterations. The second algorithm is based on an iteration dependent, de-coupled penalty function that introduces smoothing while preserving edges. For the purpose of making comparisons, the MLEM algorithm and a penalized weighted least-squares algorithm were implemented. In experiments using synthetic data and real phantom data, it was found that, for a fixed level of background noise, the contrast in the images produced by the proposed algorithms was the most accurate.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2004