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We present a new simple method for decoding penumbra image. Penumbral imaging is a coded aperture technique which uses a simple large circular aperture as coding aperture. Thus, the image of the object is coded and the information must be recovered through a decoding process. The proposed decoding method overcomes the classical problem related to the zero-crossing of the Fourier transform of the point spread function. This problem arises when using the usual methods based on inverse filtering in Fourier domain. Moreover, it allows to remove automatically the flat background which is often superimposed to the penumbra image, without requiring an evaluation of its mean level. Performance comparison with the classical pseudo-Wiener filtering are presented. The method has been applied to ICF neutron penumbra images recorded at the Omega Laser Facility of the LLE (University of Rochester, NY). Experimental results are presented. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.