Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Timothy E. Doyle


Timothy E. Doyle


Ludger Scherliess


James T. Wheeler


Joseph V. Koebbe


Eric D. Held


A methodology is presented for creating tomographic reconstructions from various projection data, and the relevance of the results to applications in atmospheric science and biomedical imaging is analyzed. The fundamental differences between transform and iterative methods are described and the properties of the imaging configurations are addressed. The presented results are particularly suited for highly ill-conditioned inverse problems in which the imaging data are restricted as a result of poor angular coverage, limited detector arrays, or insufficient access to an imaging region. The class of reconstruction algorithms commonly used in sparse tomography, the algebraic reconstruction techniques, is presented, analyzed, and compared. These algorithms are iterative in nature and their accuracy depends significantly on the initialization of the algorithm, the so-called initial guess. A considerable amount of research was conducted into novel initialization techniques as a means of improving the accuracy. The main body of this paper is comprised of three smaller papers, which describe the application of the presented methods to atmospheric and medical imaging modalities. The first paper details the measurement of mesospheric airglow emissions at two camera sites operated by Utah State University. Reconstructions of vertical airglow emission profiles are presented, including three-dimensional models of the layer formed using a novel fanning technique. The second paper describes the application of the method to the imaging of polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs) by NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite. The contrasting elements of straight-line and diffusive tomography are also discussed in the context of ill-conditioned imaging problems. A number of developing modalities in medical tomography use near-infrared light, which interacts strongly with biological tissue and results in significant optical scattering. In order to perform tomography on the diffused signal, simulations must be incorporated into the algorithm, which describe the sporadic photon migration. The third paper presents a novel Monte Carlo technique derived from the optical scattering solution for spheroidal particles designed to mimic mitochondria and deformed cell nuclei. Simulated results of optical diffusion are presented. The potential for improving existing imaging modalities through continual development of sparse tomography and optical scattering methods is discussed.




This work made publicly available electronically on October 19, 2012.

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