An expectation-maximization algorithm for positron emission particle tracking

Sam Manger, Antoine Renaud, Jacques Vanneste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT) is an imaging method that tracks individual radioactive particles. PEPT relies on the detection of back-to-back photon pairs emitted by positron annihilation. It requires an algorithm to locate the radioactive particles based on the set of lines defined by successive photon-pair detections. We propose and test a new algorithm for this task. The algorithm relies on the maximization of a likelihood arising from a simple Gaussian-mixture model defined in the space of lines. The model includes a component that accounts for spurious lines caused by scattering and random coincidence, and treats the relative activity of particles as well as their positions as parameters to be inferred. Values of these parameters that approximately maximize the likelihood are computed by application of an expectation-maximization algorithm. A generalization of the model that includes the particle velocities and accelerations as additional parameters takes advantage of the information contained in the exact timing of positron annihilations to reconstruct pieces of trajectories rather than fixed positions, with clear benefits.
We test the algorithm on both simulated and experimental data. The results show the algorithm to be highly effective for the simultaneous tracking of many particles (up to 80 in one test). It provides estimates of particle positions that are easily mapped to entire trajectories and handles a variable number of particles in the field of view. The ability to track a large number of particles robustly offers the possibility of a dramatic expansion of the scope of PEPT
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Jul 2021

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