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Quantum-limited image reconstruction in nuclear medicine

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There is probably no imaging modality more severely limited by quantum noise than nuclear medicine. A typical diagnostic gamma-ray image may consist of only 5,000 detected photons, and there are almost never more than 500,000 photons in the entire image. The images invariably have low resolution and high noise. Yet the goals of nuclear medicine are quite ambitious; often one wants to have quantitative information about the distribution of a radioisotope in three or even four dimensions. Thus there is an overwhelming need to design data-acquisition systems and image reconstruction algorithms so as to make the best possible use of the available gamma-ray quanta. For this reason nuclear medicine is an important test bed for studying the problems of quantum-limited imaging in general.

© 1989 Optical Society of America

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