Empirical average-case relation between undersampling and sparsity in X-ray CT

Jakob Sauer Jørgensen, Emil Y. Sidky, Per Christian Hansen, Xiaochuan Pan

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In X-ray computed tomography (CT) it is generally acknowledged that reconstruction methods exploiting image sparsity allow reconstruction from a significantly reduced number of projections. The use of such reconstruction methods is inspired by recent progress in compressed sensing (CS). However, the CS framework provides neither guarantees of accurate CT reconstruction, nor any relation between sparsity and a sufficient number of measurements for recovery, i.e., perfect reconstruction from noise-free data. We consider reconstruction through 1-norm minimization, as proposed in CS, from data obtained using a standard CT fan-beam sampling pattern. In empirical simulation studies we establish quantitatively a relation between the image sparsity and the sufficient number of measurements for recovery within image classes motivated by tomographic applications. We show empirically that the specific relation depends on the image class and in many cases exhibits a sharp phase transition as seen in CS, i.e., same-sparsity images require the same number of projections for recovery. Finally we demonstrate that the relation holds independently of image size and is robust to small amounts of additive Gaussian white noise.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInverse Problems and Imaging
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)431-446
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Inverse problems
  • computed tomography
  • image reconstruction
  • compressed sensing
  • sparse solutions


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