Statistical Image reconstruction for muon tomography using a gaussian scale mixture model

Guobao Wang, Larry Schultz, Jinyi Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Muon tomography is a novel imaging technique that uses background cosmic radiation to inspect vehicles or cargo containers for detecting the transportation or smuggling of heavy nuclear materials. Empirically, muon scattering data are modeled as zero-mean Gaussian random variables with variance being a function of the atom number and density of the scattering material. However, a single Gaussian distribution cannot model the tail of the true distribution and hence results in noisy reconstructed images. In this paper, we propose a Gaussian scale mixture (GSM) to approximate the true distri ution of muon data. The GSM follows the true distribution more closely than a single Gaussian model. We have derived a maximum a posteriori (MAP) reconstruction algorithm based on the GSM likelihood. Localization receiver operating characteristics (LROC) studies were performed using computer simulated data to evaluate the new algorithm. The results show that the use of GSM improves the detection performance significantly over that of the traditional Gaussian likelihood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5204665
Pages (from-to)2480-2486
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Bayesian estimation
  • Gaussian scale mixture
  • Image reconstruction
  • Minorization maximization
  • Muon tomography
  • ROC analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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