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We present accurate and efficient methods for estimating the spatial resolution and noise properties of nonquadratically regularized image reconstruction for positron emission tomography (PET). It is well known that quadratic regularization tends to over-smooth sharp edges. Many types of edge-preserving nonquadratic penalties have been proposed to overcome this problem. However, there has been little research on the quantitative analysis of nonquadratic regularization due to its nonlinearity. In contrast, quadratically regularized estimators are approximately linear and are well understood in terms of resolution and variance properties. We derive new approximate expressions for the linearized local perturbation response (LLPR) and variance using the Taylor expansion with the remainder term. Although the expressions are implicit, we can use them to accurately predict resolution and variance for nonquadratic regularization where the conventional expressions based on the first-order Taylor truncation fail. They also motivate us to extend the use of a certainty-based modified penalty to nonquadratic regularization cases in order to achieve spatially uniform perturbation responses, analogous to uniform spatial resolution in quadratic regularization. Finally, we develop computationally efficient methods for predicting resolution and variance of nonquadratically regularized reconstruction and present simulations that illustrate the validity of these methods.
Date of Publication: March 2008