Comparison of Deconvolution Filters for Photoacoustic Tomography

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 31;11(3):e0152597. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152597. eCollection 2016.


In this work, we compare the merits of three temporal data deconvolution methods for use in the filtered backprojection algorithm for photoacoustic tomography (PAT). We evaluate the standard Fourier division technique, the Wiener deconvolution filter, and a Tikhonov L-2 norm regularized matrix inversion method. Our experiments were carried out on subjects of various appearances, namely a pencil lead, two man-made phantoms, an in vivo subcutaneous mouse tumor model, and a perfused and excised mouse brain. All subjects were scanned using an imaging system with a rotatable hemispherical bowl, into which 128 ultrasound transducer elements were embedded in a spiral pattern. We characterized the frequency response of each deconvolution method, compared the final image quality achieved by each deconvolution technique, and evaluated each method's robustness to noise. The frequency response was quantified by measuring the accuracy with which each filter recovered the ideal flat frequency spectrum of an experimentally measured impulse response. Image quality under the various scenarios was quantified by computing noise versus resolution curves for a point source phantom, as well as the full width at half maximum (FWHM) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of selected image features such as dots and linear structures in additional imaging subjects. It was found that the Tikhonov filter yielded the most accurate balance of lower and higher frequency content (as measured by comparing the spectra of deconvolved impulse response signals to the ideal flat frequency spectrum), achieved a competitive image resolution and contrast-to-noise ratio, and yielded the greatest robustness to noise. While the Wiener filter achieved a similar image resolution, it tended to underrepresent the lower frequency content of the deconvolved signals, and hence of the reconstructed images after backprojection. In addition, its robustness to noise was poorer than that of the Tikhonov filter. The performance of the Fourier filter was found to be the poorest of all three methods, based on the reconstructed images' lowest resolution (blurriest appearance), generally lowest contrast-to-noise ratio, and lowest robustness to noise. Overall, the Tikhonov filter was deemed to produce the most desirable image reconstructions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Photoacoustic Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Transplantation, Heterologous